Christopher Ross’s latest visit to Paris has been an eye-opening visit, as it enabled the UN envoy for the Western Sahara to take the pulse of France, which perfectly knows the geopolitical situation that prevailed in the Maghreb during the colonial and pre-colonial era, as it perfectly knows the current strategic stakes in the region.
It is on the basis of these strategic data that are deeply rooted in history that French leaders have reiterated to Christopher Ross France’s forthright and unswerving stance on the Western Sahara issue.
While reaffirming its support for a "just, lasting and mutually acceptable solution under the aegis of the United Nations and in accordance with the Security Council resolutions," the French government has once again underscored its support to the Morocco-proposed Autonomy Plan.
"France supports the Moroccan autonomy plan as it was presented in 2007 and considers that this plan is a serious and credible basis for a negotiated settlement," said the spokesman for the French Foreign Ministry when the UN mediator was in Paris.
Christopher Ross visited Paris part of a tour to the countries of the Group of Friends of Western Sahara, in a bid to put the negotiations process back on track.
The political process had been revived by the Moroccan autonomy proposal but was hampered again by the Polisario Front which is fighting, from its headquarters in neighboring Algeria, for the independence of Western Sahara.
The UN Security Council was however clear in its resolutions inviting the conflicting sides to engage in negotiations in good faith and, above all, in a spirit of realism and compromise.
At present, the standpoint of the international community on the Western Sahara issue, particularly the position of Washington and Paris, proved highly prescient. The destabilization threat actually endangers the entire Sahara and Sahel region, with consequences that extend far beyond the area, due to the proliferation of armed rebellions and the emergence of Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) and separatist groups.