The two parties to the conflict in Western Sahara, Morocco and the Polisario Front, will meet Wednesday in Geneva, Switzerland, under the auspices of the UN Special Envoy to Western Sahara, Horst Kohler, to discuss the next steps in the UN settlement process and take stock of developments since the talks ended in 2012.
For the first time since the failure of the Manhasset negotiations in the United States in 2012, the Moroccan Minister of Foreign Affairs, Nasser Bourita, will face Khatri Addouh, the head of the Saharawi delegation to the negotiations in Geneva, in the presence Horst Kohler, who declared at his inauguration that his mission was to end the 43-year-old conflict.
These negotiations, to which Algeria and Mauritania have been invited as neighboring states, will also see the participation of the Saharawi side, the Sahrawi coordinator with the United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO), M’hamed Khaddad, Sahrawi representative to the United Nations, Sidi Mohamed Omar, as well as the general secretary of the National Union of Saharawi women, Fatima Elmehdi and the adviser to the National Secretariat of the Polisario Front, Mohamed Ali Zerouali .
Morocco has also made public the composition of its official delegation in Geneva. According to the Moroccan press, it will be led by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Nasser Bourita, who will be accompanied by the Director General of Studies and Documentation (DGDE – intelligence service), Mohamed Yassine Mansouri.
Organized on the initiative of the UN Secretary-General’s Personal Envoy for Western Sahara, Horst Kohler, the Geneva meeting is scheduled for two days (5-6 December) and will help speed up the resumption of negotiations between the two parties to the conflict, the Polisario Front and Morocco, in accordance with the requirements of UN resolutions, guaranteeing the Saharawi people the exercise of their right to self-determination, including that adopted in April 2018 (2414) which had called for both parties to the conflict to “resume negotiations, without preconditions and in good faith”.
In his invitations to the parties to the conflict, Kohler stressed that the “main objective” of these talks was “to discuss next steps to revive the political process, in addition to assessing developments since of the Manhasset process in 2012”.