After they suffered setbacks at the European Parliament, which voted at the level of committees for the renewal of the EU-Morocco farm & fisheries deals recognizing Morocco’s sovereignty over the Sahara, the Polisario separatists, relayed by Algerian media, rushed to distort the remarks made lately by US National security advisor John Bolton on Washington’s review of UN peacekeeping missions.
Speaking last week at the Heritage Foundation on Trump Administration’s new Africa strategy, which puts the interests of the American People first, both at home and abroad, Mr. Bolton said Washington “will no longer support unproductive, unsuccessful, and unaccountable UN peacekeeping missions”.
Contrary to the press reports circulated by the Algerian propaganda outlets and the secessionist bloggers through their social media networks, Ambassador Bolton, one of the White House hawks, has not called for the holding of a referendum in the Sahara.
He cited the case of MINURSO deployed in the territory since 1991 due to the absence of a political solution to this regional conflict. “27 years of deployment of this UN peacekeeping force, 27 years and it’s still there”, said Mr. Bolton, wondering whether “there is not a way to resolve” this issue.
“Our objective is to resolve conflicts, not freeze them in perpetuity”, added the US national security advisor. And of course, the Polisario and Algeria tried to exploit the criticism voiced against UN conflicts management in a bid to shy away from their responsibilities in perpetuating the Sahara conflict.
Instead of concentrating on the realist autonomy plan offered by Morocco for the Sahara and the strong message sent by Mr. Bolton, they wasted their energies on playing the blame game.
John Bolton’s remarks confirm the rightfulness and the merits of the stand of Morocco, whose King Mohammed VI, has reached out to neighboring Algeria to open a direct and frank dialogue to settle all pending differences including the Sahara conflict, but to no avail.
The Algerian State, which arms, funds and shelters the Polisario separatists, has been recognized by the United Nations as a party to the regional dispute over the Sahara and as a main stakeholder in the process aiming to find a lasting political solution to the conflict. This explains Algeria’s participation in the Geneva round table on the Sahara, held dec.5-6 under the aegis of the UN Secretary General’s personal envoy Horst Köhler.
The huge financial and military resources devoted by the Algerian authorities to keep this issue going on for political purposes could have been much more productively used for the regional development and economic betterment.
With the current dynamics of global geopolitics and economics, it is time for the Algerian authorities to listen to the voice of reason and be pragmatic because the Trump Administration said it will not continue funding the UN peacekeeping missions that are unable to meet their own mandate or facilitate lasting peace. In March, the United States has made the renewal of the MINURSO mandate conditional on political progress.
Morocco has already shown its good-faith and readiness to open a new chapter in the political process. The ball is now in the other parties’ court.