UN chief’s special envoy for Western Sahara, Christopher Ross, may resume his diplomatic shuttle trips in the region in August, in a bid to reinvigorate the negotiation process between the Polisario Front and Morocco, interrupted in 2012, a UN source said Wednesday.
The UN envoy may begin a new tour in the region this month, according to the source, which added that the United Nations is paving the way for the resumption of the talks process.
No date has been set so far, the source noted, stressing that “obstacles to the efforts of Ross during the trip may come from Morocco.”
The King of Morocco Mohammed VI said on Saturday that Rabat will not change it’s stance on Western Sahara, despite its recent decision to rejoin the African Union.
He made the announcement in a televised speech to mark the 17th anniversary of his accession to the throne, known as Throne Day.
“Our decision to re-join AU does not mean we will renounce our legitimate rights over Western Sahara, or the recognition of a fictitious entity devoid of the most basic attributes of sovereignty,” he said.
The king of Morocco also alluded to the recent statement by the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, who spoke of Morocco’s “occupation” in Western Sahara during a visit to a Sahrawi refugee camp in Algeria last March . In retaliation, Rabat expelled most of the civilian members of UN’s mission in Western Sahara.
The United Nations is preparing a formal proposal to jumpstart talks on settling the decades-old conflict over Western Sahara, a spokesperson said Monday.
UN envoy Christopher Ross is ready to travel to the region to discuss the proposal on “re-invigorating the Western Sahara negotiating process,” said spokesperson Farhan Haq.
“A formal proposal is being made to the parties and neighbouring states,’ he added.
Four rounds of UN-sponsored talks held between Morocco and the Algerian-backed Polisario Front, which is campaigning for a referendum on self-rule, have failed to make progress since 2007.