Christopher Ross has reportedly hinted during his latest visit to Algeria and in the Tindouf camps that he was about to throw in the towel.
He must however submit a report on his last tour in the region to the UN Secretary General, Ban Ki -Moon, before asking to be discharged from his mission.
Ross no longer hides that five years after his appointment, he has failed to bring the two protagonists (Morocco and Polisario) around the same negotiating table.
According to Sahrawi dissidents in Tindouf, Algerian leaders continue to oppose any direct negotiations excluding Algeria which is officially proclaiming its neutrality and claiming it is just an observer in the negotiations.
During his latest visit to the region that ended on Wednesday in the Tindouf camps, Christopher Ross was not at all talkative and just listened to his interlocutors, out of politeness rather than interest.
Many observers have raised questions about the timing chosen by Ross for his new mission in the region. The visit actually coincided with the Moroccan King’s African tour and the absence of several members of the Moroccan cabinet, including Foreign Affairs Minister, Salaheddine Mezouar, who are part of the king’s party.
So while in Rabat, Ross only conferred with the junior Foreign Minister, Mbarka Bouaida.
In Algiers also, the political elite is so busy with the presidential elections scheduled for April 17 that little attention was paid to the UN mediator.
In view of the stalemate of the Western Sahara issue, some analysts think that the UN would be tempted to focus its efforts on the autonomy solution proposed by Morocco to settle this long standing conflict where there will be no winners nor losers.
This new approach is dictated by the worsening security situation in the Maghreb and the Sahel, which has become a major source of concern not only for UN officials but also for several members of the UN Security Council.