Speaking to reporters in Washington, the US National Security Advisor John Bolton said that he is frustrated that the Western Sahara conflict has not been solved. The official took the opportunity to criticize the policy of China and Russia in Africa.
Almost ten days after a Moroccan delegation, headed by Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita, attended a round table in Geneva on the Western Sahara question, the National Security Advisor of the United States John Bolton said that he was «frustrated» that the conflict has not been resolved, says Reuters.
«I’d like to see this resolved if the parties can agree on the way forward. That’s the preference», Bolton told reporters at the Heritage Foundation thinktank in Washington.
The American official referred to the Western Sahara dispute while explaining the Trump administration’s new Africa strategy, reported the same source. Moreover, he argued that his country will «no longer provide indiscriminate assistance across the entire continent, without focus or prioritization», adding that it «no longer support unproductive, unsuccessful, and unaccountable UN peacekeeping missions», reported the Guardian.
During his speech, Bolton slammed China and Russia for the «predatory practices» they pursue in Africa, stressing that they stunt economic growth in the continent «threatens the financial independence of African nations, inhibit opportunities for US investment; interfere with US military operations; and pose a significant threat to US national security interests».
The United States and expensive peacekeeping missions
Bolton’s statement comes after the Trump administration urged Morocco and the Polisario to make progress in the negotiation process in the past few months.
In a UN Security Council Briefing, held in August, on the Maintenance of International Peace and Security : Mediation and Settlement of Disputes, Political Coordinator of the U.S. Mission to the United Nations Rodney Hunter commented on the territorial dispute and MINURSO.
«The United States has made it a priority to push for political progress in places that have long been on our agenda», including, «Cyprus and Western Sahara, where we have peacekeeping missions that have sat on the ground for decades», said the US official.
Rodney stressed that the US is «making a renewed push to see whether the parties are working with the UN to make political progress. And if they are not, we are going to reassess what these missions are doing. Either way, we do mediators no favors when we let the status quo be an end to itself».
For the record, the Trump administration pays close attention to the Western Sahara conflict. Indeed, after Morocco, the Polisario, Mauritania and Algeria attended the Geneva round table convened by the UN Personal Envoy to Western Sahara Horst Kohler, the Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs David Hale had a telephone conversation with the Mauritanian Foreign Affairs Minister, Ismail Ould Cheikh, right after the end of the round table’s first meeting.