APS - 22 April 2021
OTTAWA- The UN peace process in Western Sahara failed to achieve its goals as Morocco's allies, namely France, Spain and the United States, put their interests ahead of the Sahrawis' right to independence, said Vivan Solana, anthropology professor at the University of Ottawa, Canada.
"The systematic ineffectiveness of the United Nations peace process in Western Sahara can be explained by examining what Morocco's allies (especially France, Spain and the United States) see as opportunities and benefits to be derived from the occupation of Western Sahara," said the scholar in a column recently published on the website of the Middle East Research and Information Project (MERIP), a research group which studies conflicts in the Middle East region.
According to her, North American and European firms have invested in Western Sahara, as part of economic agreements with Morocco, to exploit the resources of the occupied territories despite the illegality of this kind of investment. Phosphate, fishery resources, agricultural products, petroleum are all resources which interest Morocco's western allies.
Many motivations "push Westerners to give priority to their relations with Morocco rather than to the political rights of the Sahrawi people, in violation to international law".
According to Vivian Solana, France has several times vetoed, UN (United Nations Organization) resolutions proposing to endow the Minurso (United Nations Mission for the organization of a referendum in Sahara Western) with a mandate to monitor human rights in the occupied Sahrawi territories.
The academic also added that the United Nations peace process in Western Sahara has provided Morocco with a number of advantages to consolidate its presence in the occupied territories. Morocco also gained time while waiting to obtain political support from its allies, which came with the statement made by former US President Donald Trump on December 10, 2020 recognizing the so-called Moroccan sovereignty over Western Sahara.