Sahara : Would Christopher Ross succeed in what his predecessors failed ?

A new Maghreb tour for a new round of negotiations between Morocco and the Polisario. Algiers was the first stopping place in the tour undertaken presently, by the personal envoy of the UN General Secretary for the Sahara, Christopher Ross. The objective of this new trip, is to prepare the ground for a new direct negotiations round which may lead to a final settlement of the Sahara conflict,  and which would be mutually accepted by the parties being in conflict. Christopher Ross has arrived on Sunday 17th October to Algiers, while his boss, Ban Ki-Moon, UN General Secretary, was in Morocco where he attended the 3rd session of the World Policy Conference (WPC) which took place in Marrakech. Ban Ki-moon « special guest » of the Moroccan channel 2M, has expressed his personal commitment to work for a « harmonious resolution » of this conflict, through his personal envoy, Christopher Ross, playing the role of a mediator. The UN General Secretary who  expressed on Sunday, his satisfaction of Morocco’s will to restart dialog on the Sahara issue, has also wished that Ross’s tour in the region, would reach fruitful discussions with the concerned parties. A tour which would lead Christopher Ross to Algiers, Tindouf, Nouakchott and Rabat, should allow, according to the UN GS’s spokesman, the holding of a series of informal negotiations in next November.

In its last Resolution (1871), the UN Security Council has asked Morocco and the Polisario Front to continue negotiations under the aegis of the UN General Secretary, « without any prior conditions and in good faith », so as to achieve « a fair political solution, sustainable and mutually acceptable ». Facing the position of each of the two parties in conflict, Morocco on the one hand and Polisario and Algeria on the other hand, the American diplomat, Christopher Ross who took over in 2009 from the Dutch Peter Van Walsum, leaves for a very difficult mission where there is little space for diplomatic manœuvres. Would this experienced diplomat who knows very well English, French and Arabic succeed where his predecessors have failed, that is find the magical solution to put an end to this conflict in which Morocco is facing Polisario Front  for more than thirty five years, with the interference of the Algerian neighbour ? This is the important question which answer remains still a riddle for many observers following closely this issue.