Morocco impeded UN envoys’ work, says Ross

Washington, 15 December 2020 (SPS) - Morocco “has shown disrespect” and impeded the work of United Nations (UN) envoys, former UN Envoy for Western Sahara Christopher Ross wrote on his Facebook page.

According to Christopher Ross, who served as a UN Envoy for Western Sahara from 2009 to 2017, Horst Kohler, another UN envoy, would have not resigned "for health reasons" but more likely out of disgust for Morocco's lack of respect and efforts to impede his work (as they did with me).”

“It was in that year that Morocco and the Polisario agreed to a UN settlement plan that promised a referendum in exchange for a ceasefire. Thirteen years were spent trying to reach agreement on a list of eligible voters, the last seven of them under the supervision of James Baker. In the end, these efforts failed because Morocco decided that a referendum was contrary to its (claims of) sovereignty and, in doing so, got no push back from the Security Council. In 2004, this caused Baker to resign,” wrote the former US diplomat.”

The UN Secretary-General is looking for yet another envoy. Those approached to date have demurred, probably because they recognize that Morocco wants someone who will in effect become its advocate instead of remaining neutral and that, as a result, they would be embarking on "mission impossible,” said Ross.

Trump’s proclamation on Western Sahara is “foolish,” “ill-considered,” says Ross

“This foolish and ill-considered decision flies in the face of the US commitment to the principles of the non-acquisition of territory by force and the right of peoples to self-determination, both enshrined in the UN Charter,” wrote Ross.

“It is true that we have ignored these principles when it comes to Israel and others, but this doesn’t excuse ignoring them in Western Sahara and incurring significant costs to ourselves in terms of regional stability and security and our relations with Algeria,” warned Christopher Ross who served as UN personal envoy for Western Sahara from 2009 to 2017.

Ross, requested to give his opinion on Trump’s proclamation, refuses the argument of some circles in Washington, according to which an “independent State in Western Sahara would be another failed mini-state.”

This is “false,” affirmed Christopher Ross. (SPS)