The UN mediator Christopher Ross at last seems ready to acknowledge the evidence. He actually conceded that a federation (between Morocco and the Sahara) might settle the Western Sahara conflict, an option that is getting closer to the autonomy proposal made by Morocco.

In doing so, the Personal Envoy of the UN Secretary General for the Western Sahara recognizes that attempts to hold a referendum would be a waste of time and would not push the process any further.

Before embarking on his current tour in the three countries concerned by the Western Sahara conflict (Morocco, Algeria and Mauritania) Christopher Ross visited major world capitals.

The aim of these visits was to consult with the great powers on the approach to be adopted in the thorny issue of the Western Sahara, at a time growing activism of Jihadist groups and separatist movements is threatening stability of the whole region.

 

His stop over in Switzerland, where the confederation system has proved successful, was not fortuitous, especially so as Switzerland is not part of the States forming the "Friends of Western Sahara" group, including the United States, France, Spain, Great Britain and Russia. Christopher Ross thus seems inclined to favour the Swiss federal system, which is based on a union of sovereign but not independent cantons.

The U.S. diplomat has probably started to consider the federal or co-federal option after he understood better the regional and strategic stakes of the conflict. Also, his extensive contacts with the protagonists themselves may have contributed to reinforce his belief in the soundness of the option.

On the one hand, there are the Sahrawi people of the Western Sahara who are determinedly upholding that they are part of Morocco. On the other hand, there are the Sahrawis who are forcibly held in Tindouf on Algerian territory by the Polisario Front. The front is armed and financed by Algeria and claims the independence of the Western Sahara.

27/03/2013