Western Sahara 2016

Western Sahara is a disputed territory located in North Africa. It is bordered by Morocco to the north, Algeria to the northeast, Mauritania to the east and south, and the Atlantic Ocean to the west. The politics of Western Sahara are largely characterized by a long-running dispute between Morocco and the Polisario Front, an independence movement which seeks to create an independent state in Western Sahara. The conflict has been ongoing since 1975 when Morocco annexed much of the territory. In 1991, a ceasefire was agreed upon and both sides began negotiations towards a political solution. However, these negotiations have yet to produce any tangible results as both sides remain far apart on key issues such as sovereignty over Western Sahara and how it should be governed. In recent years, there have been some attempts at compromise with proposals such as autonomy for Western Sahara under Moroccan sovereignty or even joint sovereignty between Morocco and Polisario Front being put forward. However, none of these proposals has been accepted by either side so far and there appears to be no end in sight for this long-running dispute. Despite this lack of progress towards resolution, international efforts continue in hopes that a peaceful solution can eventually be reached that will satisfy all parties involved. Visit COUNTRYAAH for a list of countries that start with letter W.

Yearbook 2016

Western Sahara. The Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced in January that Sweden does not recognize Western Sahara. According to the Ministry, the reason was that the “conditions of international law” were not fulfilled. In addition, according to Foreign Minister Margot Wallström, the issue was a decolonization issue in the UN and was on the UN Security Council’s agenda.

According to countryaah, the current population of Western Sahara is 597,350. The message was received with great disappointment from the Western Saharan liberation movement Polisario. They had expected the opposite as both the Social Democrats and the Environmental Party have party decisions to recognize Western Sahara. According to analysts, the Swedish government’s turnaround was because they could not afford to deteriorate relations with Morocco. Since the issue was put under review last year, Morocco has put pressure on Swedish politicians, among other things through threats of boycott by Swedish companies.

Western Sahara Population 2016

For the 43rd time since 1991, the United Nations Security Council in April extended the one-year UN peacekeeping mandate of MINURSO in Western Sahara. At the same time, the Council wanted the 500-strong force to become operational again, after Morocco, following a dispute with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon, expelled some 80 civilian members from the force. Whether Morocco would allow MINURSO members to return was unclear.

Last May, the leader of the Polisario, Mohamed Abdelaziz, died after a long illness. Abdelaziz died at the age of 68 and has been leading the fight for Western Sahara since the 1970s. In December last year, he was re-elected as Secretary General of Polisario and President of the Saharan Arab Democratic Republic (SADR). In Algeria, where Polisario is headquartered, the authorities announced eight days of national grief.

In July, Brahim Ghali was elected new Secretary-General and President of SADR.

Since Moroccan forces crossed an important barrier near the Mauritanian city of Nouadhibou on the La Güera Peninsula in August, Polisario warned of war. According to Polisario, Morocco wanted to establish a military beyond the barrier, which served as a limit for the Moroccan presence since the ceasefire was reached between the countries in 1991. By contrast, the Moroccan authorities had sent forces to the area to stop car smuggling and illegal trade.

At the end of August, the UN called for calm after the conflict escalated and both Morocco and Polisario sent troops to the region.