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Algeria calls for 'direct negotiations' between Morocco, Polisario

Algerian Foreign Minister Ramtane Lamamra meets Iraqi Foreign Minister Fuad Hussein in Baghdad, Iraq on July 22, 2022. [Murtadha Al-Sudani - Anadolu Agency]
Algerian Foreign Minister Ramtane Lamamra on July 22, 2022 [Murtadha Al-Sudani/Anadolu Agency]

Algeria has called for the resumption of "direct negotiations" between Morocco and the Polisario Front to resolve the conflict in the Western Sahara, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has said.

During the UN envoy for Western Sahara Staffan de Mistura's meeting with Algerian Foreign Minister Ramtane Lamamra yesterday, the ministry added, "both parties discussed the latest political developments related to the Western Sahara issue, and prospects of strengthening the UN efforts to resume direct negotiations between the two parties to the dispute, the Kingdom of Morocco and the Polisario Front, to reach a just, lasting and mutually acceptable political solution by the parties."

The statement added that the desired solution must "ensure that the Saharan people are enabled to exercise their inalienable or imprescriptible right to self-determination, according to the relevant United Nations resolutions and its doctrine on the subject of decolonisation."

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On Sunday, the UN envoy for the Western Sahara met with the leader of the Polisario Front, Ibrahim Ghali, "in a closed session" in a Saharan refugee camp in Tindouf, southwest of Algeria, as part of his second tour in the region.

On Saturday, de Mistura met with the representative of the Polisario to the United Nations, Ammar Sidi Mohamed, and the head of the Polisario negotiating team, Khatri Addouh.

After the meeting, Sidi Mohamed affirmed that the Polisario Front "is committed to peace, and it is also committed to defending, in all legitimate ways, the right of the Saharan people to self-determination and independence." He added: "The Polisario Front is ready to cooperate with the United Nations and the Personal Envoy in their efforts to reach a peaceful, just and lasting solution based on full respect for the inalienable and imprescriptible right of the Saharan people to self-determination and independence."

After his appointment in November 2021, de Mistura carried out his first tour of the region in January when he visited Rabat, Mauritania, Algeria and Tindouf.

Western Sahara is a former Spanish colony that the United Nations considers a "non-self-governing region," there has been a dispute over the area between Morocco and the Algerian-backed Polisario Front for decades.

Rabat, which controls nearly 80 per cent of this region, proposes a self-governing plan under its sovereignty. While the Polisario Front calls for holding a referendum for self-determination under the auspices of the United Nations.

Algeria severed its diplomatic relations with Morocco in August 2021 due to the profound differences over the Western Sahara and the security rapprochement between Rabat and Israel.

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