The Polisario leaders are at disarray and feel more and more isolated on the international scene as major powers, such as France, Spain and the United States, are renewing their backing to the Autonomy plan proposed by Morocco to settle the Western Sahara dispute.
After the fall of the Kaddafi regime, their major financial backer, after their disappointment by the Spanish Popular ruling party which, contrary to their expectations, did not express any change as to Spain’s stand regarding the Western Sahara conflict, the Polisario leaders and Algeria, their major military, diplomatic and financial supporter, were dealt a new blow from the French socialist team.
“France renews its backing to the Moroccan Autonomy Plan, which is so far the sole realistic proposition put forward on the negotiations table and which constitutes a sound and credible solution in the frame of the United Nations.”
This statement, that was made last Friday by the spokesman for the French foreign ministry, Bernard Valero, was the last straw for the Polisario which was already in disarray, said a Sahraoui opponent from inside the Tindouf Camps, in southern Algeria.
According to this opponent, the Polisario leadership already lost all illusions, if they had any, that the new French socialist cabinet would take a stand different from the one expressed by previous French governments after they learnt that the king of Morocco was on a private visit to France and that he was likely to meet the newly sworn-in French President François Hollande.
The news deepened the worries they already felt after the constructive statements made earlier this month by Pierre Moscovici, Hollande’s electoral campaign manager and chief of the presidential transition team, at the end of talks in Paris with the Moroccan Foreign Minister Saâd Eddine El Othmani.
“Relations between France are Morocco are so deep, so intense, so strong. Beyond the political changes that took place on both sides and that are tremendous, we want to bring our societies closer”, Moscovici had said.
For many pundits however, the support renewed by Bernard Valero is no surprise since the French Socialist Party has repeatedly expressed backing to the Morocco proposed Autonomy Plan as a sound platform to settle the Western Sahara conflict.
The first secretary of the Socialist Party, Martine Aubry, who was on a visit to Morocco during the French presidential campaign this spring, renewed her party’s backing to the Autonomy plan and said the UN Security Council should work on this plan as a sound basis to settle the long lasting conflict.
As early as 2002, François Hollande, then first secretary of the Socialist Party, had voiced opposition to the setting up of a new state in the region, calling for a solution granting a large autonomy to Western Sahara and preserving Morocco’s sovereignty. During a visit to Rabat in 2006, Hollande, who was still at the head of the Socialist Party, insisted again on the need to reach “a political solution” to an issue that is “uselessly” dividing Algeria and Morocco.
The Polisario is losing ground on the international scene as the Moroccan autonomy plan is gaining more and more support. Even the flow of international humanitarian assistance, that its leaders, and in the first instance Mohamed Abdelaziz, used to embezzle for personal needs, is running dry because of the economic crisis hitting Europe, sources from the camps commented.