Western Sahara: Polisario downcast by Stockholm’s reversal of position

marrggottAfter the first shock, the Polisario separatist front felt extremely downcast after Sweden announced officially it has no intention to recognize the Sahraoui Republic (SADR.)

Sweden has no intention to recognize the “Western Sahara” as a State, Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom said in a statement released Friday, renewing her country’s support to the ongoing UN-led negotiations over the Sahara issue.

According to an informed source in the Tindouf camps, consternation gave way to incomprehension. The Polisario leader Mohamed Abdelaziz and his lieutenants held an emergency meeting to attempt to understand Sweden’s turnaround, after it showed good dispositions towards the Algeria-backed Sahraoui separatist Front.

A few weeks earlier, the Swedish coalition Government, formed by the Social Democrats and the Greens, had raised the possibility to recognize the SADR. But it was without counting on the vigilance of Morocco whose diplomacy reacted swiftly and warned Sweden against the serious mistake it was about to commit. Sweden came within a whisker of becoming the first European country to recognize a pseudo-republic.

And precisely, Margot Wallström mentioned the geopolitical and legal criteria required by international law for the recognition of a state to explain her Government’s decision not to recognize the Sahara Republic.

“The criteria required by the international law to recognize Western Sahara are not fulfilled”, Mrs. Wallström said in her statement.

And the Swedish leftist government’s decision actually tipped the balance in favor of international legality. As long as the self-proclaimed republic does not meet internationally accepted criteria, it is not possible to recognize a state that does not exist on the ground.

Also, Stockholm took into account other considerations not to recognize the SADR, especially the fact that Morocco is “an influential country in the Arab World.” And when all is said and done, Sweden’s decision is consistent with international law and with its own strategic and economic interests.

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