Van Walsum: The Polisario Front request is ‘unrealistic’

Peter Van Walsum, Personal Envoy of the UN Secretary General for Sahara, put his mandate in jeopardy during his address to the 15-member UN Security Council on Monday. He stated that “an independent Western Sahara is not an attainable goal”.
This declaration, which has surprised the whole observers of the file, Moroccans included, constitutes a true evolution of the U.N position regarding the Sahara issue and consolidates the Moroccan proposal to put an end to the conflict.
In April 2007, the Kingdom of Morocco presented its autonomy initiative to solve the more than 32-year-old conflict between the North African country and the Algerian-backed Polisario separatists.
Until now, four rounds of UN-led direct talks were held in Manhasset between the separatists and the representatives of Morocco, but the parties have not so far been able to engage in real negotiations.
Peter Van Walsum has considered that the demands of the Polisario Front to return to the Baker Plan were unrealistic. Devised by the former US Secretary of State and former UNSG envoy to the Moroccan Sahara, the plan provided a five-year self-rule period for Morocco's Southern Provinces, followed by a referendum of the entire population.

The Baker plan which did not offer a significant process to solve the long conflict between Morocco and the Algeria-backed Polisario separatists was rejected by Morocco and by several observers who described it as "outdated".