US former ambassador in Morocco Edouard Gabriel said the African Union's "unilateral decision" to appoint what it called a special envoy for the Sahara is a clear attempt to deviate the negotiations process from its track and jeopardize efforts to reach a political solution to the Sahara issue.
"This is a new manipulation behind which are visible the hands of the Polisario separatists' sponsors at the AU which try to deviate the UN-brokered peace negotiations from its process", the former diplomat told MAP.
As the separatists sponsors, in their despair, "are sinking deeper and deeper in their own deceits", Morocco stands out with its serenity derived from historical realities and on the ground facts, through its autonomy plan for the Sahara which is described by the US president as "serious, credible and realistic", he added.
Reacting to the "unfortunate and ill-advised" decision, Peter Pham, director of the Africa Center at the Atlantic Council, stressed that the African Union has no legal competence or expertize whatsoever regarding the Sahara issue.
On the reasons behind this "unilateral and counter-productive" decision, the American expert mentioned "plots of a country which is notoriously hostile to Morocco's interests within the continent", recalling that "most the UA member-countries are not even paying their arrears, a situation that got worse with the death of former Libyan leader Mouaamar Kadhafi who used to soak up debts, a task that has been taken over by others who are wishing to continue on the path of manipulation.