Continued from page 1

“Human rights is slowly but surely becoming more important in security council discussions,” said Carne Ross, former head of the Middle East section at Britain’s U.N. mission and now part of a group that advises the Polisario. “When I was a diplomat at the security council 10-15 years ago people just didn’t talk about human rights in general, and now they do. And that’s been a long-term shift in how the security council talks and the Moroccans do not come out well in it.”

Mustapha Naimi, a Moroccan expert on the Sahara, explained that Morocco faces an uphill struggle with international community to show that its autonomy proposal is really the best solution for the people rather than a referendum for self-determination.

“It is the official position of the U.N. to this day. So Morocco is on the defensive,” he said. “To overcome this problem, Morocco has to play all of its cards and come out very strong against Algeria.”

The latest dispute with Algeria was engineered by Morocco ahead of the king’s visit to the U.S., he said, to highlight the dispute and discredit Algeria’s role so Morocco could present new solutions.

“It will start with going to the Sahara, (the king) will announce reforms and then take the plane to see Barack Obama to say, ‘I am credible and should be treated as such,’” he said.


Associated Press reporter Karim Kebir contributed to this report from Algiers, Algeria.