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    Morocco, Mauritania Discuss Building Internet Cable Crossing Southern Provinces

    The internet cable will reportedly cross Morocco’s southern provinces in Sahara to help Mauritania strengthen its internet capacity.

    09 Aug 2022

    Rabat - Morocco and Mauritania are reportedly holding talks to construct an internet cable that will connect the two countries through the Moroccan southern provinces in Western Sahara.

    In a report on Sunday, August 7, the news website Ecsahraui quoted 'well-informed sources” who spoke of ongoing negotiations between the Moroccan and Mauritanian governments to simulate the construction of the internet cable “very soon.”

    The cable is set to “strengthen the internet connection in the country [Mauritania],” the sources said, stressing that this new infrastructure aims to reinforce the African Coast to Europe (ACE) cable.

    If confirmed, the project will reflect Nouakchott’s de facto recognition of Morocco’s sovereignty over the Western Sahara region, the news outlet said.

    The project had been rejected by previous Mauritanian presidents, but it “seems that it has been accepted by the current president Mohamed Ould Ghazouani,” said Mauritanian analyst Yacoub Ould Cheikh Sidya.

    According to Ecsahraui’s report, Moov Mauritel, Mauritania’s leading telecommunication operator, is especially interested in the project.

    The project is set to mark another diplomatic gain for Morocco’s position should Mauritania - a main party in the Western Sahara dispute - seal an agreement on the construction of the cable with Morocco.

    The move, however, could add more tension to an already flared-up situation in the Western Sahara dossier.

    Algeria, which supports and shelters the Polisario Front that claims independence in the southern Moroccan provinces, has been intensifying its lobbying efforts against Morocco’s territorial integrity following recent diplomatic gains by Rabat.

    In March, the Algerian regime expressed frustration after the Spanish government officially endorsed Morocco’s Autonomy Plan as the most serious and credible basis to end the dispute over Western Sahara.

    In particular, the Algerian regime ended a 20-year-long friendship treaty with Spain and recalled its ambassador from Madrid.

    The Algerian regime also continues to shirk responsibility in the Sahara dispute, emphasizing that a solution should be found by Polisario and Morocco.

    However, Morocco has insisted over the years that the Polisario Front is not a legitimate representative for Sahrawis, emphasizing that Algeria bears much of the responsibility for the dispute since it shelters the Polisario Front and finances its efforts to secede the Sahara region from Morocco.

    Since the resignation of Horst Kohler as the UN Secretary General’s personal envoy for Western Sahara, UN mediation efforts appear to be running out of steam despite promises to preserve and build on the legacy of the much-touted “new momentum” achieved under Kohler’s tenure.

    After over three years of stagnation in the UN-led process in the Sahara, the UN Secretary General appointed in October 2021 a new envoy to replace Kohler and help give a new lease of life to the dying new momentum.

    But experts have warned that recent moves from Algeria -- rejecting the latest UN resolution on the Sahara, cutting ties with Morocco, terminating the contract of the Europe-Maghreb pipeline, and ending its friendship treaty with Spain for rapprochement with Morocco -- suggest the new UN envoy is in for a long, tortuous journey in the mined waters of Western Sahara diplomacy.

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