Rabat – The Algerian-backed Polisario Front has approved United Nation Secretary General Antonio Guterres’ proposal to appoint former German President, Horst Köhler, as the UN Personal Envoy for Western Sahara, according to a source close to the Polisario.
If approved by the Security Council and Morocco, Köhler will succeed Christopher Ross, who resigned in March.
The decision comes few days after the UN chief submitted its annual report on the dispute to the Security Council. In the report, Guterres calls on the UN body to urge the Polisario to withdraw from the Guerguerate region.
Polisario representative, whose identity was not disclosed, said that “the issue of withdrawal from Guerguerate is not a subject of discussion.”
The Polisario continues to flout the UN’s decision by not complying with Guterres’ call to withdraw from the buffer zone of Guergarate, in Western Sahara, where its militia threatens human life and disturbs trade.
The anonymous representative added, “We are steadfast in our position to stay in Guerguerate because the Moroccan concessions were result of the Saharawi presence in this region.” MINURSO is an element of the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations, established in 1991 after the international organization brokered a cease-fire agreement between Morocco and the separatist Polisario Front following 16 years of war.
The proposal to appoint Köhler as the new UN Personal Envoy for Western Sahara comes a few weeks before the Security Council is scheduled to vote on a resolution to extend MINURSO’s mandate for one year. The UN mission’s mandate is up for renewal on April 30.
Both parties should approve the proposal of appointing Köhler, however, Morocco has not announced its approval yet.
Köhler, 74, held the position of German president from 2004 to 2010. He is a member of Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Party. He is also an economist who, at one time, headed the German association of savings banks (DSGV). As well, Kohler, oversaw the International Monetary Fund (IMF) as Executive Director from 2000 to 2004.