Rabat – United Nations Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, is due to submit his annual report to the Security Council on “the Situation concerning the Western Sahara,” on Friday.
Based on the report, the Security Council will decide whether or not to renew the mandate of the United Nations mission in the Western Sahara, known as MINURSO.
Unlike in previous years, this year’s annual report comes amid an unprecedented tension between Morocco and Ban Ki-moon following the UN chief’s controversial statements during his recent trip to the region.
While on a visit to the Tindouf camps on March 5-7, Ban Ki-moon described Morocco’s presence in the territory as “occupation.”
Ban Ki-moon’s statement stoked the ire of Rabat, which issue reacted vehemently and decided to expel MINURSO’s civil component.
In light of the rising tension between Morocco and the UN Secretariat, the Moroccan public opinion is bracing for a negative UNSG’s annual report.
But Analysts say however the UN Chief’s report might be, he won’t succeed in convincing the Security Council to change the framework of negotiations set out by Resolution 1754 of April 2007.
The news coming from the UN headquarters indicate that the Security Council is not ready or willing to escalate tension between Morocco and the United Nations.
Upon assuming the rotating presidency of the Security Council last Friday, Liu Jieyi, China’s Ambassador to the United Nations told reporters that the Council would renew MINURSO’s mandate “without complications.”
However, many expect this year’s deliberations in the Security Council to be contentious, particularly after Morocco’s refusal to reconsider its decision to expel 84 members of MINURSO’s staff.
According to the Security Council’s program of work for April, the UN executive body will devote three sessions to the renewal of MINURSO’s mandate. A week after receiving Ban Ki-moon’s annual report, the 15-member body will hold a meeting with troop-contributing countries on Friday April 15.
The second session will be held on April 27. During this meeting, members of the council will hold deliberations on the draft resolution on MINURSO’s mandate. On April 28, the members of the council will adopt the resolution to renew mandate for another period of one year until April 30, 2017.
The United States is the penholder of draft resolution on MIUNRSO. Every year, it drafts the resolution in coordination with the other members of the Group of Friends of the Western Sahara, which includes France, the United Kingdom, Russia, Spain, in addition to the US.
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