The conflict between Morocco and the Polisario, a group fighting for independence, is one of the most complex and stubborn conflicts in recent times, said Anouar Boukhars in an interview with FRIDE. The standoff, which dates back to 1973, has resulted in human, economic, and political problems and in the last few years, the conflict has had a trans-Saharan security impact, he added.

Boukhars, who traveled to the Western Sahara in June, noted that given the security problems in the Sahel and Mali and the refugees based in Algeria, the situation poses a huge concern to the region. Both sides have struggled to make compromises and concessions to find a solution.

The solution to the conflict is complex, Boukhars warned. “I think there has to be, as the United Nations says, a consensual political solution,” he said, highlighting the plan put forth on the table by Morocco that gives widespread autonomy and is supported by the United States, France, and Spain.