New York - Morocco has succeeded in derailing the efforts that Angola and its African Union allies made to convene an Arria formula meeting at the Security Council to discuss the latest developments of the friction between Morocco and United Nations Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon.
New York – Morocco has succeeded in derailing the efforts that Angola and its African Union allies made to convene an Arria formula meeting at the Security Council to discuss the latest developments of the friction between Morocco and United Nations Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon.
Angola, a non-permanent member of the Security Council, requested an Arria formula meeting of members of the Security Council for Tuesday, April 26, in order to hear a briefing by Joaquim Chissano, Special Envoy of the African Union for the Western Sahara.
“Considering the current status quo prevailing in Western Sahara and considering the request made by the African Union’s Peace and Security Council on 6 April, the Permanent Mission of Angola is convening an Arria Formula Meeting on Western Sahara to be held on Tuesday 26 April, 2016 at 3:00 in CR7 (Tbc), which will provide an opportunity to H.E. Joaquim Alberto Chissano, former President of Mozambique and Special Envoy of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission to [sic] Western Sahara to brief Members of the Security Council, UN Membership and Observers Mission to UN, on the efforts he’s undertaking in the discharge of his mandate,” said the letter sent by the Angolan Ambassador to the members of the Security Council.
Reacting to Angola’s maneuvers to involve the African Union in the conflict, on April 24 the Permanent Representative of Morocco to the United Nations circulated a letter to the Permanent Representatives of the Member States to the United Nations, as well to the Secretary-General, regarding the proposed meeting.
In the letter obtained by Morocco World News, the Moroccan Ambassador expressed Morocco’s rejection of such a meeting on the grounds that the United Nations is the only international organization in charge on the question of Western Sahara.
He stressed that Morocco refuses any role for the African Union in the conflict, arguing that the organization is biased toward the Polisario and influenced by the Algerian position. The Moroccan diplomat went on to add that the African Union’s approach to the matter is contrary to United Nations resolutions which hold that that the settlement should be achieved by consensus between the two sides.
He also noted that the letter comes just two days before the Security Council adopts its annual resolution on the conflict, which he alleges demonstrates that the goal behind the meeting is to undermine the political process under UN auspices which seeks to help the parties to achieve a mutually acceptable political solution. The Moroccan Ambassador called on UN member states to not participate in the meeting.
Though the meeting was eventually held, its organizers failed to turn it into a successful event. The event was held behind doors and no nongovernmental organization was allowed to attend it. Angola and Venezuela have been attempting to invite some international NGO’s that specialize on the issue of human rights. In addition, the meeting took place in the UN basement, received no coverage from the UN department of public information and no interpretation services were provided.
Named after Diego Arria, former Permanent Representative of Venezuela to the United Nations and the representative of Venezuela on the Security Council in 1992-1993, the Arria formula meeting can be held at the request of one of the members of the Council. This meeting, which is not held inside the Security Council room and do not constitute an activity of the Council, give members of the Council flexibility to invite and engage with high government officials and representatives of international or regional organizations in matters that are considered as “falling within the purview of responsibility of the Security Council.”