Opinion: Good Riddance, Christopher Ross

San Francisco – Well aware that the new United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres will not keep him, Christopher Ross the Envoy for Western Sahara has thrown in the towel and resigned his post.


Not surprising given his total failure in 7 years in making any progress regarding the Western Sahara question.  To the contrary, the Sahara dossier is now even worse than when he came on board to “help” the parties.


Morocco’s mistake was in accepting his nomination by Ban Ki Moon.  Ross, being an American, the U.S. State Department would always have condoned his actions and would never have disagreed with one of their own no matter what decision he made.

Another former American special envoy, James Baker, should have served as a vivid example for the Moroccans when he suggested in 2001 that half of the Moroccan Sahara be handed over to the Polisario — essentially giving away half the Sahara to Algeria.


In 2012, Morocco finally realized that Christopher Ross was taking the side of the Polisario and Algeria and declared him persona non grata and refused to work with him.


 Ban Ki Moon was able to convince the Moroccan monarch to allow Ross back to negotiate the peace settlement mandated by the UN.  Again, Ross’ support for the Polisario continued, which pushed Morocco to stop all scheduled meetings with the Polisario.


Mr. Ross’s apparent mission was to kill the autonomy proposal presented by Morocco. The peace plan supported by the international community with the exception of a few dictators such as the defunct Chavez of Venezuela who left his in country in ruins before his death, the 93-year-old Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe, one of the poorest countries on earth, and the Algerian dictator Abdelaziz Bouteflika, the Maghreb Arab Union exterminator who is still hanging onto power even though he is too ill to govern.


There is no doubt that Morocco has learned from past miscalculations and will no longer accept anyone who will not at least appreciate the autonomy proposal. The king of Morocco has already announced to the whole world that the Sahara will remain Moroccan until the end of time, and anyone who believes that Morocco will give out an inch of its territory through negotiations, should think twice before applying for the job or accepting any nomination by the new UN Secretary General.


Many Moroccan observers were pleased that Antonio Guterres was selected for the post of Secretary General, and perhaps they were right to be pleased. Any European would likely be much more informed than an American about the conflict and its ramification on the entire region.


Unlike Ban Ki Moon, who when he remembered in his last couple of months in office that North Africa has its own conflict, and tried to fix it, traveled to Tindouf in Algeria and erroneously called Morocco an occupying force, there appears to be  a good chance that the United Nations new Secretary-General Antonio Guterres will not repeat his predecessor’s grave mistake.

Majid Morceli