First Published: 2018-03-08

Morocco FM says talks with UN envoy on Western Sahara “fruitful”
Morocco demands Algeria take part in future talks with Polisario Front on Western Sahara issue.
Middle East Online

Nasser Bourita

CASABLANCA - Morocco’s Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita said Tuesday talks with US special envoy to Western Sahara with Horst Köhler in Lisbon were”rich” and “fruitful.”

Bourita, who chaired the Morocco delegation during the meeting with Köhler, said that Morocco “remains on its positions as to the possibility of a resumption of negotiations with the Polisario Front,” demanding Algeria take part in the talks.

“Overall, the discussions took place in an atmosphere of serenity and the debates were rich and fruitful. The atmosphere was one of seriousness and mutual respect,” said Bourita after the meeting.

“This is not a negotiation process or negotiation, but a contact to discuss the evolution of the Moroccan Sahara issue,” he said.

Morocco annexed Western Sahara in 1975 and maintains it is an integral part of the kingdom. Algerian-backed Polisario Front separatists began an armed conflict with Morocco for an independent state that lasted until the United Nations brokered a ceasefire in 1991.

Rabat has proposed a form of autonomy under Moroccan sovereignty for the territory. The proposal was rejected by the Algerian-backed Polisario Front, which insists on the right of the Sahrawi people to self-determination in a UN-monitored vote.

The Moroccan FM said that the meeting was also an opportunity for the relevant members of the Moroccan delegation to present Morocco's effort to implement the regional development model and the structures of advanced regionalization besides the Moroccan autonomy initiative.

Moroccan King Mohammed VI said last November that no settlement of the Sahara affair was possible outside the framework of the full sovereignty of Morocco over its Sahara and the autonomy initiative.

The participation of the Moroccan delegation in Lisbon meeting at Köhler’s invitation is part of Morocco's ongoing cooperation with the United Nations to reach a final political solution to the regional dispute over the Sahara, said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation in a statement.

Kohler is working to restart talks between Morocco and the Polisario on ending the decades-old conflict.

The meeting also came few weeks before the UN Security Council discusses Western Sahara on April 25 ahead of a vote on renewing the UN mission's mandate.


Israel confirms it hit suspected Syrian nuclear reactor in 2007

Syrian rebels reach evacuation deal in Eastern Ghouta town

Abbas calls US ambassador to Israel 'son of a dog'

UN says Turkey security measures 'curtail human rights'

'Saudization' taking its toll on salesmen

Grim Nowruz for Kurds fleeing Afrin

Sarkozy back in custody for second day of questioning

Netanyahu says African migrants threaten Jewish majority

US Senate votes on involvement in Yemen war as Saudi prince visits

What a ‘limited strike’ against Syria’s Assad might mean

Natural gas in eastern Mediterranean fuels increasing tensions

Erdogan tells US to stop ‘deceiving’, start helping on Syria

IS controls Damascus district in surprise attack

French ex-president held over Libya financing allegations

NGO says Israeli army violating Palestinian minors’ rights

Human rights chief slams Security Council for inaction on Syria

US warns Turkey over civilians caught in Syria assault

Saudi crown prince keen to cement ties with US

Erdogan vows to expand Syria op to other Kurdish-held areas

Kurdish envoy accuses foreign powers of ignoring Turkish war crimes

Morocco authorities vow to close Jerada's abandoned mines

Israeli soldier sees manslaughter sentence slashed

Turkey insists no plans to remain in Afrin

Cairo voters show unwavering support for native son Sisi

Forum in Jordan explores new teaching techniques

Gaza Strip woes receive renewed attention but no fix is expected

Kurds, Syrian opposition condemn Afrin looting

36 jihadists killed in Egypt’s Sinai

Israel arrests French consulate worker for gun smuggling

Pro-Turkish forces loot Afrin

Israel prepares to demolish Jerusalem attacker's home

Saudi crown prince says his country to seek nuclear bomb if Iran does

Arab women artists in diaspora focus on identity and loss

Tunisia’s Central Bank targets inflation but may hurt growth prospects

Libya’s health system reflects a larger humanitarian crisis

Israel blasts Gaza underground tunnel

Abu Dhabi awards France's Total stakes in oil concessions

Erdogan says Afrin city centre under ‘total’ control

Egypt tries to contain Sudan but challenges, suspicions remain

US defence secretary presses Oman on Iran weapons smuggling

Syrian regime retakes two towns from Ghouta rebels

Hamas shutters mobile firm after Gaza attack on PM

Israel punishes family members of West Bank attacker

Syria opposition says UN 'failed to prevent' Assad 'crimes'

UK tries to soothe Egyptian anger over mob attack death