French President Emanuel Macron said in Algiers that Morocco and Algeria should work together to resolve the Sahara issue, a statement that implies Algeria’s role in perpetuating the over four-decade conflict.
“France adopts an equidistant position regarding the Sahara issue concerning which we maintain our known position that has not been changed nor will it be changed. Dialogue between Morocco and Algeria on this issue is vital,” Macron told the press during his visit to Algiers on Wednesday.
This response infuriated the Polisario militia leaders who were reduced by the French President to their real role of a puppet whose strings are pulled from Algiers.
The takeaway from Macron’s statement is that the Sahara conflict continues due to Algeria’s reluctance to recognize Morocco’s territorial integrity.
France’s position regarding the Sahara issue has been reaffirmed many times, the latest was last month at the Joint Statement adopted at the end of the 13th Moroccan-French High-level Meeting.
The document reiterated that Morocco’s autonomy proposal represents a “serious and credible solution” and a basis to reach a just, lasting and mutually acceptable solution to the Sahara issue.
In 2007, Morocco offered the autonomy initiative after the organization of a referendum proved to be unfeasible in view of disagreements over who is eligible to vote. The Kingdom’s autonomy plan has been internationally endorsed as a credible basis for negotiations and for a settlement.
Under the autonomy plan, the Saharan population shall have exclusive powers with regards to managing local affairs within the framework of Morocco’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.
The Polisario and its mentor Algeria discard the autonomy option as they continue to stick to obsolete positions reminiscent of the Cold War era leading to the perpetuation of the conflict and the prolonging of the suffering of the Saharan population held in the Polisario-run camps in southwestern Algeria.
Algeria continues to fund and support diplomatically and military the Polisario militias which it hosts in the region of Tindouf since the 1970s. The Polisario have been using Algerian territories as a rear base for their guerrilla warfare against Morocco until the UN-brokered ceasefire agreement in 1991.