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Western Sahara: de Mistura met Spanish FM after Spain’s endorsment of Morocco’s plan

BRUSSELS, MARCH 21 – The Personal Envoy of the Secretary-General for Western Sahara, Staffan de Mistura, met with Spanish Foreign Minister José Manuel Albares earlier today  in Brussels.  He was also in touch with other relevant interlocutors in recent hours, including Algeria.

In the context of the recent announcement by Spain relating to their relations with Morocco, the Personal Envoy took good note of Foreign Minister Albares’ support for a UN-facilitated process on Western Sahara aiming at a mutually acceptable solution, in line with relevant Security Council resolutions in particular the latest one, resolution 2602 (2021).  He continues to count on the support of all concerned to his efforts aimed at a constructive resumption of the political process.

In an attempt to ease tensions with Morocco, last week Spain has endorsed a plan for the governance of the Western Sahara, including increased autonomy for the indigenous population, EFE agency reported. The region has been embroiled in a separatist conflict for some 50 years, but Morocco now wants to grant the indigenous Sahrawis the right to run their own administration. Rabat, however, would remain in control of defence, foreign affairs and would retain overall sovereignty.

Backing a 2007 proposal by Morocco, on Friday Spain announced it would embrace Morocco’s plan, marking a “new stage” in relations with Morocco, grounded in “mutual respect, fulfilment of accords, the absence of unilateral actions, and permanent communication and transparency,”  said a government statement. However, the Sahrawis have denounced the plan and called for full independence. A statement carried by Algeria’s official media on Saturday condemned the “abrupt about-turn” by Madrid, which had previously maintained neutrality in the decades-old conflict for the territory between Morocco and the Polisario Front independence movement.

In a subsequent press conference, Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Albares said that Spain views Rabat’s proposal as “the most serious, realistic, and credible basis” for a resolution of the conflict.

In late 2020, the Trump administration recognised Moroccan sovereignty over Western Sahara as a quid pro quo for the kingdom mending ties with Israel. The deal sparked renewed tensions with Algeria. The Biden administration has not reversed Trump’s decision. (@OnuItalia)

Alessandra Baldini
Alessandra Baldinihttps://onuitalia.com
Alessandra Baldini e’ stata la prima donna giornalista parlamentare per l’Ansa, poi corrispondente a Washington e responsabile degli uffici Ansa di New York e Londra. Dirige OnuItalia.

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