Top US diplomat travels to Algeria and Morocco to raise Western Sahara issue
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Europress.- The US Under-Secretary of State for International Organizational Affairs, Michele Sison, will travel to Algeria and Morocco from 21 to 26 January to discuss the Western Sahara dispute.
“Sison will meet with senior officials, UN representatives and civil society leaders,” the State Department said in a statement.
She will “underscore US support for MINURSO”, the UN mission for the referendum in Western Sahara, and the efforts of UN Special Envoy Staffan de Mistura.
The trip will also serve to “discuss shared multilateral priorities in the UN system, including the importance of human rights as Algeria and Morocco join the UN Human Rights Council”.
He will also defend the US nominee for the International Court of Justice, Sarah Cleveland, and the nominee for Director-General of their International Organisation for Migration, Amy Pope.
The former Spanish colony of Western Sahara was occupied by Morocco in 1975 despite resistance from the Polisario Front, with which it was at war until 1991. Afterwards, both sides signed a ceasefire with the aim of holding a referendum on self-determination, but disagreements over the census and whether or not to include Moroccan settlers have so far prevented it from taking place.
On 14 November 2020, the Frente Polisario declared the ceasefire with Morocco broken after the Moroccan military cracked down on Sahrawi activists in Guerguerat, in the agreed de-escalation zone, which the Sahrawis considered a violation of the terms of the ceasefire.
The latest setback for the Sahrawi independence fighters was the Spanish government’s support for the Moroccan autonomy plan, announced in a letter to the Alaouite King Mohammed VI on 18 March – a change of position that the Polisario Front calls a betrayal and a reminder that Spain is still the de jure administrative power of Western Sahara.