Morocco Ban tensions rise ahead of UNSC meeting over Sahara| MENAFN.COM

Friday, 28 January 2022 06:18 GMT

Morocco Ban tensions rise ahead of UNSC meeting over Sahara

(MENAFN- The Journal Of Turkish Weekly) The Kingdom of Morocco went beyond the usual diplomatic phrases to directly accuse Ban Ki-moon the secretary-general of the United Nations of “abandonment of neutrality objectivity and impartiality…[and] surrendering to the blackmail of other parties” in the ongoing dispute between Morocco and the Polisario Front.

Rabat also alleged that Ban’s speech contained “unprecedented verbal excesses” arguing that the recent remarks”are politically inappropriate and unprecedented in terms of the history of his predecessors and contrary to the resolutions of the Security Council.”

The statement delivered by the Moroccan Ministry of Foreign Affairs came after Ki-moon’s recent visit to the Sahrawi refugee camps in the province of Tindouf western Algeria earlier this month. Ban met with the refugees and asserted that he “will spare no effort to help in achieving progress toward a solution of the Sahara issue.”

Previously Morocco accused UN Envoy Christopher Ross of "bias.” He was subsequently suspended before being reinstated in 2015.
Ban stated during his recent visit to Algeria that he had asked Ross to resume his tour in the region in an effort to revive the negotiations between Morocco and the Polisario Front.

Analysts believe that the Moroccan government issued their statement as a reaction to Ban’s reassigning Ross to the issue.

The strong language in the statement issued by the Moroccan Ministry of Foreign Affairs directly accusing Ban of “lack of neutrality and objectivity” reflects the Moroccan position that Ban “supports the secession of the Sahara from Morocco” which they consider “unacceptable.”

Issuing such a strong statement testifies to the fact that Morocco is willing to endure significant economic and diplomatic hardships to defend its position.

The Sahara issue is clearly a red line for Morocco.

The diplomatic positions assumed by Morocco and interested parties concerning the Sahara issue has remained as a gauge by which the temperature of the relationship between all involved parties is measured.

Ban did not hesitate to defend himself from the accusations leveled against him.

On Wednesday his spokesman Farhan Haq issued a statement that described Ban and the UN as a “neutral partner.”

Haq stated that Ban “has done everything possible in order to resolve the situation in the Sahara.”

Haq highlighted Ban’s continued commitment to the Sahara issue by stating that Ban “wanted to ensure that this question actually has a place on the international agenda during the last year of his mandate.”

What is of particular concern regarding the accusations leveled against Ban via the Moroccan foreign ministry is that it comes just weeks before the issue is scheduled to be raised at the UN Security Council in April.

Parties of the Moroccan opposition including the Independence Party the Socialist Union and the Party of Authenticity and Modernity also condemned the statements as “politically inappropriate” and called on both chambers of parliament to hold an extraordinary session.

France traditionally the ally of Morocco didn’t hesitate to renew its “support for the autonomy plan presented by Morocco to settle the Sahara issue.”
Romain Nadal the spokesman of the French Foreign Ministry stated on Wednesday that “the autonomy plan presented by Morocco in 2007 poses a credible base for France to reach a negotiated solution.”

Morocco and the Palisario signed a ceasefire in 1991 but talks aimed at resolving the conflict have since been deadlocked. While Polisario – which is backed by Morocco's regional rival Algeria – wants a referendum on the region's fate Rabat has said it will not offer more than autonomy for the region.

By Mohamed al-Tahiri

- Ali Abo-Rezeg contributed to this report.

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