Following his meeting with Horst Köhler in September in New York, the chairperson of the African Union Peace and Security Council flew to Brussels to hold talks with the UN Personal Envoy once again. Did the Algerian official succeed in convincing Hosrt Köhler to allow the PSC to find a solution to the conflict in the Sahara, as its Eastern neighbor wishes ?
The African Union Peace and Security Council president is in Brussels. «Algeria’s Ismail Charki met on Wednesday the UN personal envoy, Horst Köhler. They held talks in the capital of the European Union», says a source close to the file. Like his predecessor, the UN senior official wants the European Union to be more engaged and committed to the conflict resolution.
This is indeed the second meeting between Charki and Köhler in a few months. The first meeting in September 19, 2017 in New York during the UN General Assembly and lasted for more than an hour.
The African Union and Western Sahara
During their meeting, the President of the UN Peace and Security Council had urged Kohler, recently appointed by Antonio Guterres, to join the continental organization in a process to find a solution to the Sahara issue.
Morocco rejects this proposal categorically. That was clearly expressed in King Mohammed VI’s speech delivered on the 6th of November, 2017 on the commemoration of the Green March 42nd anniversary. «The UN body (the Security Council) is, in fact, the only international body responsible for overseeing the settlement process» of the territorial dispute, he said.
In the past, Rabat accused the AU Peace and Security Council of lacking «impartiality». The African body, heavily influenced by the positions of Algeria and South Africa, adopted last July a resolution calling on Morocco and the «SADR» to «engage in direct and serious talks and to to provide the necessary cooperation to the political organs of the AU, the Commission and the High Representative of the AU for Western Sahara».
In Brussels, defending the Polisario’s positions was at the heart of the Algerian agenda. «Before meeting with the UN mediator, Charki spoke with a senior official in the European Commission in charge of aid to refugees. In particular, he asked his interlocutor to be more generous with the separatist movement», adds the same source.
Ismail Charki will remain at the head of the Peace and Security Council of the AU until 2021. In contrast, Algeria and South Africa will leave the tour of the African forum on 31 March.