EU is Urged To Play “Leading Role” in Resolution of Conflict over Sahara

The European Union (EU) is called upon to play a “leading role” in reviving talks between the parties for the final settlement of the conflict over the Sahara, said former Spanish Minister of Foreign Affairs Ana Palacio.

The status quo in the Sahara – and in the Maghreb more broadly – cannot last, noted the former Spanish official in a column recently published by the international media organization “Project Syndicate”, based in Prague, noting that “war, if it resumed, would fuel instability throughout the region.”

On the recognition by the United States of the full and entire sovereignty of Morocco over its southern provinces, she noted that the “USA is not the only one to support Morocco in the Sahara dispute”.

“By the end of 2020, 18 countries in sub-Saharan Africa and the Gulf had opened, or expressed their intention to open, consulates in the Sahara, implying a tacit recognition of the Moroccan sovereignty,” she explained.

On the other hand, she went on, the Polisario recently unsuccessfully challenged the legality of agricultural exports and fisheries agreements between Morocco and the EU in the European Court of Justice.

She affirmed that “the Sahrawis are taken as hostages by the Polisario in order to support the narrative according to which Morocco is an occupier, a discourse which is not confirmed by international law”, adding that none of the 69 resolutions of the Council of security on the Sahara “does refer to an occupation”.

Rather, these resolutions call on the parties to negotiate a political settlement, she said.