Christopher Ross, the UN mediator for the Western Sahara, has set out on trying to get this old regional conflict, relic of the cold war, out of the deadlock. Christopher Ross has started its diplomatic tour on last October 14th, in Washington. He has continued with a call at Madrid on November 4th, then with a visit to Paris four days later. At each phase, the UN envoy hears the same speech on the attachment to the “continuing of negotiations and the present political process” between Morocco on the one side and the Polisario supported by Algeria on the other side. France has greeted the perseverance of Christopher Ross to convince the protagonists to reach a “realistic, fair and sustainable political solution” to the Western Sahara issue. Realizing that the persistence of the statu quo does only hinder “the building of an integrated and prosperous Maghreb”, Paris said to be supporting “the continuing of negotiations and informal discussions under UN aegis. Only these negotiations can contribute to a substantial progress of the political process”. Madrid, on its side, supports the UN efforts, as does Washington.
This consensus goes in hand with the position of the Security Council. The latter has qualified the Moroccan autonomy proposal for the Western Sahara as “a serious and credible” base for negotiations to reach the settlement of a conflict which has too much lasted. The problem resides in the position of Algeria through the Polisario. The two of them persist in claiming the independence of a vast under-populated desert that no big capital in the world can envisage, especially that the region has become a fertile nest for AQMI jihadists and traffickers swarming in the Sahelo-Saharan desert zone. The recent kidnapping of the two Spanish workers and their Italian colleague, inside the Polisario HQ within the Algerian territory, is a bitter illustration of it.