Sahara: The hidden hand of Algerian lobbying

Relations between Morocco and the UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-Moon, are currently in a zone of turbulence against the backdrop of an underhand diplomatic war between Rabat and Algiers.
At the bilateral scale, Morocco quite recently won two outstanding voices, that of the ruling Spanish right in Madrid and that of the ruling Socialist Party in Paris, which did not hesitate, in the past, to uphold publicly the theses of the Polisario. At the multilateral level, things are not going so well, between Rabat and the UN chief, especially since Morocco announced its decision to withdraw its confidence in the personal envoy of the UN Secretary-General for the Sahara, Christopher Ross
Moroccans blame the UN mediator for his biased stands in favor of the opponent party and for the manifest partiality he showed in drafting his latest report to the UN SG. Moreover, Ross had held the position of USA ambassador to Algiers for a long time (1988-91), and therefore leans towards the theses of the Polisario and its Algerian mentors.

A former Spanish diplomat, fine connoisseur of the case, asserts that the Algerian Intelligence and Security Department (DRS/ military intelligence service) spared no expense, by pumping in the country’s oil windfall, to make the balance tilt towards the Polisario after the separatist movement was abandoned by two of its traditional allies in Europe (the Spanish Popular Party and the French Socialist Party). Lobbyists in New York, familiar with the UN corridors, were lavishly paid to get the job done, the same source said.
As evidence to these interferences, the retired diplomat, who asked not to be named, mentioned the recent appointment of the German Wolfgang Weisbrod-Weber head of the Minurso. The German had led the UN peace keeping mission in East Timor, when this region got the green light to organize a referendum on its independence in 2002.
Obviously, the Polisario is delighted at this appointment, but as far Moroccans are concerned, they deem this appointment far from being above suspicion. It allows many interpretations all the more so as the informal negotiations held by Christopher Ross ended in a dead end after nine rounds of negotiations.


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