Who is behind the rejection of candidates proposed to replace the former personal envoy to the Sahara ?

While the rejection of candidatures for the post of Special Envoy to Western Sahara continues, the Polisario put full responsibility on Morocco.

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The Polisario Front has denied it was blocking the appointment of a new personal envoy to Western Sahara, accusing Morocco of «sabotaging» the process after the resignation of Horst Kohler. The separatist movement’s claims voiced by its representative at the United Nations Sidi Mohamed Ammar were relayed by Algerian media.

«Four Personal Envoys and fifteen Special Representatives of the UN Secretary-General have so far been involved in various stages of the UN peace process in Western Sahara. However, Morocco has managed, with complete impunity, to turn their mediation efforts into impossible missions through its procrastination and deliberate obstructionism», he said in a statement.

These accusations come after French news agency AFP revealed that the Polisario rejected the appointment of Portuguese diplomat Louis Amado as personal envoy to Western Sahara, according to international «diplomatic sources».

«Morocco has given its agreement to the appointment of a new envoy»

«The Polisario Front refused it after having studied his statements while he was Minister (of Foreign Affairs, editor's note) and assured to have seen there an inclination in favor of Morocco, according to the same sources», indicates the French agency. The former Portuguese Foreign Minister is accused of having welcomed the Moroccan autonomy plan.

«The Moroccan initiative, which we find positive, fits into this perspective», Amado told reporters during a visit to Rabat in 2017. Words that «will tip the scale», threatened El Watan in an article published on April 1.

AFP also cites the case of another candidate, without revealing his name, who was also refused by the Polisario because «the fact that his candidacy was endorsed by Rabat was a good enough reason for the Sahrawis to oppose him». For the record, the Front and Algeria had vetoed the candidacy of the former Romanian Prime Minister, Petre Roman. 

In December, French-speaking Algerian daily El Watan accused him of being «pro-Morocco (…) His close proximity to the Makhzen, normally disqualifies him for any post having a connection with the Sahrawi file or the Maghreb». Roman had indeed taken part in an edition of the Crans Montana Forum organized in Dakhla.

But until when can the undermining work of the Polisario and Algeria continue while the United States is pushing for the designation of a successor to the German Horst Köhler ? A desire expressed by Antony Blinken during his virtual meeting, on March 29, with Antonio Guterres. The noose is also tightening in Brussels. This week, seven MEPs asked, in a written question, the European Commission to identify the party or parties that rejected Petre Roman's candidacy.

On April 5 in Dakhla, the Moroccan Minister of Foreign Affairs announced that «Morocco has given its agreement to the appointment of a new envoy (…) and has given the green light to the proposals made, in this sense, by the UN Secretary General».

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