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Sahrawis get Morocco to the table, but Polisario leader tells us it’s only a start

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Interview. We spoke with Sahrawi independence leader Brahim Ghali about the negotiations in Geneva this week. ‘After six years of attempts by the UN to organize a round of negotiations and Morocco’s constant refusals, it must be stressed just how important the Geneva conference is. Morocco has finally agreed to sit down and speak directly with the Polisario Front.’

written by Stefano Mauro

Topic Middle East and North Africa

Also filed under interview

December 6, 2018

Moroccan separatists and the government, along with Algeria and Mauritania as observer countries, are meeting in Geneva on Wednesday and Thursday for a round-table meeting on the fate of Western Sahara.

The meeting brings the Polisario Front and Morocco to the same negotiating table for the first time since 2012 for direct talks centered on the issue of the organization of a referendum for the “self-determination of the people of Western Sahara,” called for by the UN Resolution 2440 adopted in late October.

The initiative is promoted by the Personal Envoy of the Secretary General of the UN, Horst Kohler, and supported by most of the countries on the Security Council, after the recent extension of the MINURSO peacekeeping mission until April 2019.

The summit seemed like an impossible task until a few months ago, given that Morocco has always been much more inclined to conduct indirect talks, unwilling to give any recognition to the Polisario Front as a negotiating party, while affirming its intentions to accept only a sort of autonomy for Western Sahara, as long as it did not compromise Moroccan “territorial integrity.”

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