Sahara Conflict: Algeria’s hope for an agreement…at last

Algeria welcomed recent developments on the issue of the Sahara including the adoption of Security Council resolution 1754, which underlined the need to achieve a just and comprehensive solution to the conflict.  The Foreign Minister of Algeria told the United Nations General Assembly that his country hopes for an agreement between Morocco and the Polisario Front that would pave the way for the people of Western Sahara to decide on their future. Addressing the Assembly's annual high-level debate, Mourad Medelci added that the international community had “nourished hopes for a just and lasting solution to the issue”.

Morocco has explained its stance regarding the development of the Sahara issue in the autonomy plan presented to the UN in April.  The proposal is a political solution in line to international legality, for it’s the best way to arrive at a lasting solution to the dispute.  Morocco remains attached to this solution that protects its sovereignty and allows the citizens of the Southern provinces run their local affairs. The kingdom maintains its demand for an objective and credible census of the Moroccan civilians held in the Polisario-run Tindouf camps, southwestern Algeria, and calls on the UN High Commissioner for Refugees to draw up a detailed report on this issue.  Morocco, which is concerned about the precarious situation of Moroccans held in Tindouf and deprived since more than three decades of their basic rights, has always asked the HCR to discharge its mission and bring an end to this situation so as to enable this population to benefit from assistance, and exercise its right to return to their mother country.
Since 1975, Morocco demands a viable and credible census of the population in the Tindouf camps, but the Algerian government refuses holding or allowing the census. Algeria, a party to the 1951 Convention, should fulfill this obligation towards the HCR and the international community.

The Polisario and its supporters should do a reality check on whether their current policies are likely to be helpful in finding an early and long-term solution to the conflict.  If they do this, they could find that with discretion, persistence and good will, they might succeed in negotiating a way out of the current impasse.