By Naoufel Cherkaoui
The Moroccan government on Monday (July 2nd) confirmed its decision to withdraw support for UN Western Sahara Envoy Christopher Ross.
“The Moroccan government will not back down on the decision to withdraw confidence from the Personal Envoy of the UN Secretary-General for Western Sahara as long as he does not adhere to neutrality,” Foreign Minister Saad-Eddine El Othmani told the Chamber of Representatives.
Ross cannot continue his mission in the absence of trust from the parties to Western Sahara talks, he insisted.
El Othmani added that his country was still waiting for the final decision of the UN Secretary-General in this regard.
The Moroccan government on May 17th announced that it had lost confidence in the UN envoy and accused him of “biased and unbalanced guidance” in brokering unofficial talks between Morocco and the Polisario.
“Morocco was officially asked by the United Nations a year ago for a comprehensive assessment of the series of negotiations on the Sahara, and during the assessment, which we carried out recently. We summarised three main things, including the presence of unacceptable slips in the last report of the UN Secretary- General on Sahara, where its description is not aligned with reality,” Moroccan Minister Delegate for Foreign Affairs Youssef Amrani said.
He added: “Following that, the Moroccan Foreign Minister presented that assessment to the UN Secretary-General, and expressed to him his country’s rejection of the fallacies in his last report and informed him of the need to make the necessary and urgent decisions to remedy the situation in order to give new life to the negotiating track. He also informed him of Morocco’s withdrawal of confidence from his envoy Christopher Ross.”
Amrani added that Morocco is committed to continuing its co-operation with the UN Secretary-General and the United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO).
Meanwhile, Polisario leader Mohamed Abdelaziz commented that Morocco’s decision “violates the requirements of international legitimacy, snubs its obligations to international humanitarian law and derides all the decisions and recommendations” of international bodies.
For his part, UN spokesman Martin Nesirky said that the Secretary-General continues to support his envoy to Western Sahara in order to find a solution to the long-standing conflict.
American Ross was appointed in early 2009 to succeed Dutch Peter van Walsum after objections from Algeria to his statement that independence of the Western Sahara region is not realistic.