The Western Saharan Issue

The Kingdom of Morocco and the Republic of Algeria gained their independence from France in 1956, event though Spain continued to exert its colonial rule in the Moroccan Sahara for another twenty years.

How and when did the Conflict arise?

The departure of Spain from the Sahara in 1976 precipitated the conflict, resulting in Algeria and its proxy, the Polisario Front, attacking Morocco along the Moroccan-Algerian border. 

Further skirmishes and full-scale war in the 1970’s and 1980’s failed to resolve the conflict.  In 1984 Morocco sought the intervention and help of the United Nations. 

Despite attempts at mediation between the Kingdom of Morocco and the Republic of Algeria and its proxy the Polisario Front, under the auspices of the United Nations, of the United Nations’ Secretary-General and his Personal Envoy over the past twenty years, a mutually-acceptable, negotiated solution to the conflict has not yet been achieved.

In an attempt to realise a permanent political solution to the conflict, the Kingdom of Morocco presented its Initiative for Negotiation an Autonomy Statute for the Sahara Region to the United Nations’ Secretary-General on 11 April 2007.

What is the Polisario Front?

A separatist organisation, originally formed to campaign for the re-integration of parts of the former Spanish Saharan colonies into the Kingdom of Morocco by armed force, the Polisario Front is now sponsored and supported by the Republic of Algeria, which advocates the “balkanisation” of African countries and the creation of “independent” states, through armed force. 

The Polisario Front is funded, supported and equipped with military equipment by Algeria. 

Please refer to "The Dissident front in the Western Sahara" for history and further details

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