Western Sahara: Boukadoum calls for "direct and serious negotiations"

APS - 03 April 2021

ALGIERS - Foreign Minister Sabri Boukadoum on Saturday called for "direct and serious" negotiations between the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR) and Morocco with a view to reaching a settlement of Western Sahara conflict, as the hostilities which resumed in November shattered a 30-year-old ceasefire.

"The personal envoy is not enough, there must be a process. We continue to say that direct and serious negotiations are necessary between the parties to the conflict, Morocco and the Polisario Front," the minister told the press on the sidelines of the Cultural Economy Forum.

"For almost two years, we have been demanding the appointment of a new envoy for Western Sahara," said Boukadoum.

Ten candidates proposed to hold this vacant position since 2019, have "all been rejected by a party in the conflict".

Asked about the next briefing to the Security Council, scheduled for April 21 on developments in Western Sahara, the minister said that this year's meeting takes place in a "new context marked by the breaking of the ceasefire".

Algeria is discussing this issue with the 15 members of the Security Council, he said, describing these discussions as "good". According to Boukadoum, this is an important issue both for the security of Algeria and for the peace in the region.

Asked to comment on the US State Department damning report on the human rights situation in the occupied Sahrawi territories, the minister said that Algeria continues to call for the extension of the Minurso mandate to human rights monitoring.

The UN said recently that it was still looking for an envoy for Western Sahara, citing "difficulties" in finding the right profile to fill this post vacant for nearly two years.