Sahara issue: The quest for stability

After a first round of talks on the Sahara issue, Morocco and the Polisario Front have agreed to resume their negotiations on August 10-11 in Manhasset.  The United Nations Security Council voiced hope that the parties will use the second round of negotiations to engage in "good faith and without preconditions."
It is about time that the parties and states of the region cooperate fully with the United Nations and with each other to end the current impasse and to achieve progress towards a political solution.  Some sort of compromise or "third way" between Western Sahara independence and integration with Morocco is necessary to resolve the conflict. A "winner takes all" approach is unworkable. Encouraging such compromise and trying to find a win/win situation is certainly the preferable way to pursue a lasting peaceful settlement regarding the Sahara issue.

The Moroccan autonomy plan is an open initiative which can be developed and enriched within the framework of consensual consultations. It is a modern type of self-determination which is fully consistent, in terms of both form and substance, with authentic, international legality.
The proposal is a crucial turning point in the search for a realistic and workable solution of the conflict.  It respects the regional specificities and the expectations of the local populations.
The ongoing conflict between Morocco and the Polisario Front has resulted in enormous suffering by the Western Saharan people, over half of whom live in refugee camps in neighboring Algeria; it has seriously crippled efforts to advance badly needed economic and strategic cooperation between the states of the Maghreb region facing challenges from struggling economies and rising islamist militancy.
We all hope these negotiations will lead to a just, lasting and mutually acceptable political solution that will guarantee self-determination to the population of the Sahara under Moroccan sovereignty and respect of territorial integrity, and we are confident that all the parties hope for a solution to this three-decade conflict and would improve the odds for a greater integration among the Maghreb countries.
There is a reasonable chance to reach a solution to the Sahara dispute with the second round of the negotiations on the way…let's hope for it.