Asharq Al-awsat English Middle-east and International News and Opinion from Asharq Al-awsat Newspaper

UN Security Council Extends Mandate of MINURSO for a Year

UN Security Council Extends Mandate of MINURSO for a Year

Saturday, 31 October, 2020 - 09:45
UN vehicles outside the headquarters of the United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO). (AFP)

The Security Council extended the mandate of the United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO) for one year, indicating that it looks forward to appointing a new envoy after the resignation of Horst Kohler.

The voting results were announced by videoconferencing as the Security Council was not able to convene after members of the Niger delegation contracted the coronavirus.

The Council expressed its full support for the ongoing efforts of the Secretary-General and his incoming personal envoy to sustain the renewed negotiations process.

The Council noted the intention of the Kohler to invite Morocco, the Frente Polisario, Algeria and Mauritania to meet again, and welcomed the commitment of those parties to remain engaged throughout the process in order to ensure a successful outcome.

The Council commended Kohler who resigned for health reasons on May 22, 2019, lauding his efforts in convening the roundtable discussions which created a new momentum in the political process.

It reaffirmed its commitment to assist the parties in achieving a just, lasting and mutually acceptable political solution.

In calling for the resumption of negotiations, the Council asked the parties to take into account the efforts made since 2006, as well as subsequent developments, aiming to reach a solution accepted by Morocco and the Polisario.

It invited Member States to lend appropriate assistance to such talks.

The Security Council took note of the Moroccan proposal submitted to the UN Secretary-General on April 11, 2007, and welcomed the serious and credible Moroccan efforts to advance the process towards a solution.

Informed sources told Asharq Al-Awsat that this paragraph of the report was drawn up by the US, in confirmation of Washington's support for Morocco’s Autonomy Plan for Western Sahara.

“Reaffirming the need to fully respect military agreements previously reached with MINURSO regarding a ceasefire,” the Council also called upon the parties to fully adhere to those agreements, and refrain from any actions that could undermine negotiations or further destabilize the situation in Western Sahara.

The Council also took note of the commitments made by the Polisario Front to the former envoy. It welcomed the assessment of the UN Secretary-General, which indicated that the situation in the Sahara remained relatively calm as parties continued to respect the ceasefire and MINURSO’s tasks.

The Security Council encouraged the two parties to increase cooperation with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in identifying and implementing confidence-building measures necessary for the success of the political process.

It stressed the importance of improving the human rights situation in the Sahara and the Tindouf camps, in southwestern Algeria.

The Council encouraged the parties to work with the international community to develop and implement independent and credible measures to ensure full respect for human rights, taking into account their relevant obligations under international law.

The Security Council strongly encouraged the parties to enhance cooperation with the UNHCR by facilitating its visits to the region.

The Council noted with great concern the difficulties faced by Sahrawi refugees and their dependence on humanitarian assistance. It also noted with deep concerns the insufficient funding for those living in the camps and the risks associated with reducing food assistance.

Editor Picks