Sahara : In Morocco, some parties fear the visit of US diplomat David Hale

The US Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs is expected to visit Morocco this week. This visit might give a hard time to some parties in the Kingdom, especially as Antonio Guterres’ report on Western Sahara reflected the US willingness to make a change on the human rights situation in the region.

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The US Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs David Hale./ Ph. DR

David Hale, the US Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs, is expected to visit Rabat on the 10th and 11th of April. This trip comes as the UN Security Council is scheduled to review the Western Sahara issue on the 9th and 10th of April.

In Rabat, some parties fear the timing of this visit. They are «worried about the new kind of pressure» put by the Trump administration on the Kingdom to «make concessions», a source familiar with the matter told Yabiladi.

The American official is also expected to tour France, which is seen as a worrying move. «Some parties believe that in the European country, David Hale will try to convince France, Morocco’s main ally, of his plans before the Security Council starts negotiations on the new draft resolution on Western Sahara. The Americans know perfectly that without the support France, their approach will be failing», the same source added.

Monitoring human rights in the Sahara

Not having Algeria on David Hale’s schedule is another reason that concerns the Moroccan parties. «This shows that Rabat and Paris are the first destinations to be visited by David Hale», the same source explained.

For the record, days before the first round-table, that took place in Geneva on the 5th and 6th of December, 2018, David Hale visited Morocco and Algeria with the objective of bringing together the positions of the two main actors in the Sahara issue.

«There is a good chance that David Hale’s approach is to establish an independent mechanism for the monitoring of human rights in the Sahara with the help of the French and Moroccan parties», the same source revealed.

Indeed, in his report to the Security Council, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said that «independent, impartial, comprehensive and sustained oversight of the human rights situation is necessary to ensure the protection of human rights of all the inhabitants of Western Sahara».

In its provisional program of work for the month of April, the UN Security Council was expected to see the presentation of a report on the MINURSO on Tuesday, April the 2nd.

In the same month, the Security Council will be holding two other meetings on the Western Sahara peacekeeping mission, mainly on March the 9th and 10th. These two sessions will be followed by the adoption of a new resolution on MINURSO on April the 29th.

The MINURSO’s mandate will end on the 30th of April, after it was renewed in October, 2018, to six months only.

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