Morocco has decided to withdraw its confidence in the personal envoy of the U.N. Secretary-General for the Sahara, Christopher Ross.
Christopher Ross (pictured above) was a former United States Ambassador to Algeria and Syria. On January 7, 2009 he was appointed to be the new UN envoy to the Sahara.
The Moroccan government asked the U.N. Secretary-General to take "appropriate decisions" to push the negotiating process on the Sahara issue forward, and reiterated its commitment to the Security Council Resolutions' efforts to negotiate in order to achieve a lasting and mutually acceptable political solution.
The statement was read out by the Communications Minister, and government spokesman, Mustapha El Khalfi at a press briefing following the cabinet meeting. El Khalfi said the cabinet followed a presentation by the Foreign Minister on the current developments in the Moroccan Sahara issue and the results of his recent visits to some countries and to the headquarters of the United Nations.
"Christopher Ross, in whom Morocco has withdrawn Thursday its confidence, has not complied with the requirements of impartiality that a mediator must maintain," - El Hassane Boukantar
Morocco, he said, presented to the U.N. Secretary-General the conclusions of its assessment of the developments in the Moroccan Sahara issue with regard to three aspects: the missteps identified in the latest report of the U.N. Secretary-General on the Sahara, the decline of the negotiation process which lacks any prospects or opportunities for progress, and finally the paradoxes noted in the actions of the personal envoy of the U.N. Secretary-General, Christopher Ross, marked by his renunciation of the founding principles of negotiations as defined by the Security Council resolutions.
"The personal envoy of the U.N. Secretary-General for the Sahara, Christopher Ross, in whom Morocco has withdrawn Thursday its confidence, has not complied with the requirements of impartiality that a mediator must maintain," said Moroccan professor El Hassane Boukantar.
"We found, in the latest UN report on the Sahara, that some questions were raised with the intent to misrepresent the position of Morocco and to push some members of the Security Council to give up the positive attitude adopted by the Council since 2007, the date of the presentation by Morocco of autonomy proposal, qualified as credible," said Professor Boukantar in a statement to news agency MAP.
He added that the Security Council considers Morocco as a credible partner in the search for a settlement to the Sahara issue, adding that all U.N. representatives should take this into account and "not to put Morocco on the same footing as other parties which seek to gain time."
France reiterated on Friday its support for the Moroccan autonomy plan, after Morocco’s decision to withdraw its confidence in the UNSG personal envoy for the Sahara Christopher Ross, calling for a “swift settlement of the dispute”.
France reiterates its support for the Moroccan autonomy plan, which is the only realistic proposal on the table of negotiations and which constitutes a serious and credible basis for a solution brokered by the U.N. Spokesperson of the French Foreign Ministry, Bernard Valero said.
France took note of Morocco’s decision to withdraw its confidence in the UNSG personal envoy for the Sahara Christopher Ross and is calling for a swift settlement for the dispute, which takes account of all the parties’ legitimate concerns, he said at a press briefing, the first under the new socialist government.
Valero recalled France’s support for the search for a political solution to the Sahara issue, under the aegis of the U.N. in accordance with UNSC resolutions.
ROSS IN LIMBO
After Morocco's rejection, Christopher Ross has called off plans to carry out his first official trip to the disputed territory, the UN said Friday after Morocco launched a strong attack on him.
"There are no plans for Mr Ross to travel to the region at this time," a UN spokesman, Farhan Haq, told reporters.
Ross announced at the end of the last UN-brokered informal talks between Morocco and the Polisario Front guerrillas in March that he would go to the region, including Sahara, in mid-May. Ross has yet to visit the Moroccan-controlled territory.
While no fixed dates had been organised, the trip has been made untenable by Morocco's statement on Thursday that it had lost confidence in Ross who was "unbalanced and biased."