A leader of the Polisario Front, an independence movement supported by Algeria, lambasted the UN, which he accuses of being responsible for the situation in Western Sahara, disputed by Morocco which controls more than two thirds of it and the Polisario.
“Morocco could not have done what it did without the support of the international community, the support of the UN, the Security Council as well as the UN secretary general,” said the official, Khatri Addouh, during a press conference Friday in the Sahrawi refugee camps of Tindouf, in the south of Algeria, on the occasion of the 45th anniversary of the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR).
After almost 30 years of ceasefire, tensions resurfaced in November 2020 when Morocco deployed its troops to the buffer zone of Guerguerat, in the far south of Western Sahara, after‘a group of Sahrawi activists blocked the only road to neighboring Mauritania.
Since then, the Polisario has said it is “in a state of war of self-defense”. The quadripartite peace negotiations (Morocco, Polisario, Algeria and Mauritania), conducted under the aegis of the UN, have stalled since March 2019.
The question of the status of Western Sahara, considered as a “non-autonomous territory” by the UN in the absence of a final settlement, has for decades opposed Morocco to the Polisario.
The latter is calling for a self-determination referendum planned by the UN, while Morocco is proposing an autonomy plan under its sovereignty. Rabat controls about 80% of this vast desert territory, where major Moroccan development projects have been launched in recent years.
Shortly before his departure from the White House, Donald Trump had recognized Moroccan sovereignty over the entire disputed vast desert territory, consolidating the Moroccan position.
“In reality, Trump is only adding problems to the administration that succeeds him, that is to say that of Biden,” added the Saharawi official.
The Saharawis hope that the new US president, Joe Biden, will reverse this decision and comply with the UN settlement.