Algeria, the main backer of Western Sahara’s Polisario Front independence movement, calls on Morocco to withdraw from a key buffer zone, after the United Nations named a new envoy.
The UN on Wednesday named veteran diplomat Staffan de Mistura as its point man on the decades-old conflict, a job that had remained vacant for nearly two and a half years as the Polisario and Morocco rejected a dozen other candidates.
The Algerian foreign ministry notes “with interest” the appointment of veteran diplomat Staffan de Mistura, and calls for the removal of Moroccan troops deployed late last year in the Guerguerat area in the far south of the territory.
The ministry says Algeria supports UN peace efforts and voices hope that de Mistura can “relaunch direct, serious negotiations between the Polisario Front and the Kingdom of Morocco in order to reach a solution guaranteeing the Sahrawi people can freely and authentically exercise their inalienable right to self-determination.”
Morocco’s tense relations with Algeria have deteriorated since Rabat last year won Washington’s recognition of its sovereignty over Western Sahara in exchange for normalizing ties with Israel. Algeria cut diplomatic relations with Morocco in August, accusing it of “hostile actions” including using Israeli technology to spy on its officials, charges Morocco dismisses.