New York - United Nations Secretary General is set to take part in the COP 22 scheduled to take part on November 7-18 in Marrakech.
New York – United Nations Secretary General is set to take part in the COP 22 scheduled to take part on November 7-18 in Marrakech.
U.N. spokesman Stephan Dujarric said at a press conference in New York on Wednesday that U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is expected to take part in the COP22 climate change conference in Marrakech.
Dujarric said that Ban’s presence at the conference will be an opportunity for the U.N. and the kingdom to discuss what he called “bilateral issues.”
Ban’s announced arrival in Morocco may be an opening for a meeting between King Mohammed VI and the U.N to discuss the current status of MINURSO.
MINURSO is the United Nations mission mandated to monitor the 1991 peace agreement between Morocco and the Polisario Front, the separatist militant organization which fought a sixteen-year guerilla war against the Royal Moroccan Army.
Relations between Morocco and the United Nations turned sour in March when, during a visit to Tindouf camps in Algeria, the Secretary-General had t called the Moroccan presence in the Sahara an “occupation.”
Morocco almost immediately moved to expel 84 international civil servants who were the administrative support for the U.N. peacekeeping forces and military observers. The loss of these key administrative personnel put the MINURSO mission in question as to its “full functionality.”
The kingdom later allowed 25 civil servants to return.
Ban’s trip to Marrakech flies in the face of predictions by the Polisario which argued that Ban would require that Morocco provide “restoration of full functionality of the MINURSO” before he would participate in the COP22 conference.
Tension surrounding Western Sahara issue intensified on August 14 when Morocco sent police forces into GuerGuerat region to interdict drug smugglers and black market trading. The Polisario protested to the U. N. Secretary General and sent 36 armed combatants to stop the building of a road from Morocco into Mauritania.
At the time, Ban said he was “deeply concerned” by the possibility of armed conflict and the restoration of combat between sides.
Morocco made clear that the road building was not in violation of the 1991 peacekeeping treaty and was a means to protect its sovereign borders and citizens from drug trafficking, smuggling and potential terrorist activities.