Home > Africa, Politics > Western Sahara and the New International Order

Western Sahara and the New International Order

Malainin Lakhal writes in Green Left:

Representatives of Western Sahara’s Polisario Front (the Saharawi liberation movement) and the Moroccan government met in Manhasset, New York, on August 10 and 11 with a view to “achieving a just, lasting and mutually acceptable political solution, which will provide for the self-determination of the people of Western Sahara” — the words of UN Security Council’s Resolution 1754, adopted on April 30.

Western Sahara has been recognised as a non-self-governing territory by the UN since 1965. In that year it was decided that Spain, the de jure administrating power of the territory, should cooperate with the international community in a decolonisation process recommended by the Security Council and the UN General Assembly.

A referendum on self-determination was supposed to take place under the auspices of the UN since 1975. However in that year Spain, Morocco and Mauritania signed an illegal tripartite agreement — the Madrid Accords — under which the Spanish administration unilaterally pulled out from the territory, leaving it to the two neighbouring countries, but maintaining a privileged position in the exploitation of Western Sahara’s natural resources. This illegal act was blessed by both France and the US, but condemned by the UN in more than 70 resolutions.

The August 10-11 negotiations on the fate of Africa’s last colony were tense. The members of the Saharawi delegation stated that their Moroccan counterparts were set on their illegitimate proposal of Western Saharan autonomy, the Moroccan king having declared on July 30: “Morocco is and will remain ready to negotiate on autonomy, and nothing but autonomy; second, the consensual autonomy solution can be conceived only within the framework of the kingdom’s full, non-negotiable sovereignty and national unity, and its indivisible territorial integrity.”

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Categories: Africa, Politics
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