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Exclusive: Resolution on Western Sahara Positive for Morocco

Security Council discusses Maintenance of international peace and security

New York – The members of the Security Council concluded on Thursday morning their negotiations on the draft resolution regarding the Western Sahara.

The United States has pushed for the adoption by the Security Council of a resolution that is very pro Morocco, sources acquainted with the matter from inside the United Nations told Morocco World News on Thursday.

The 15-member body held another closed-door meeting on Thursday morning to discuss the final language of the resolution.

The final version of the resolution was submitted “in blue” – meaning ready for adoption – to the secretariat of the Security Council. But according to our sources in New York, new developments may warrant revision of the text and a vote has not been scheduled. It is unclear whether the 15-member will adopt the resolution tomorrow or this weekend.

The latest version of the resolution, which was obtained by Morocco World News, is positive for the Moroccan position and puts clear pressure on the Polisario.

The resolution reflects the concern expressed by the United Nations Secretary General, Antonio Guterres concerning the situation in the region. In his first annual report on the Situation Regarding the Western Sahara, the UN chief called on the Security Council to urge the Polisario to withdraw from the Gueguerat region.

The resolution calls unequivocally on the Polisario to respect the provisions of the 1991 ceasefire agreement and withdraw from the Gueguerat region without conditions.

Paragraph 3 of the resolution expresses the Security Council’s “deep concern with the continued presence of elements of the Polisario Front in the buffer strip in Guerguerat and strongly urges the Polisario Front to fully and unconditionally withdraw from the buffer strip in Guerguerat immediately.”

The Polisario will be given 30 days to abide by the provisions of the resolution. In the event it refuses to withdraw from the Gueguerat region, the Security Council will decide on ways to compel it to do so.

The Security Council “requests the Secretary-General to brief the Council within 30 days on whether elements of the Polisario have withdrawn from the buffer strip in Guerguerat and expresses its intention, if there is no full and unconditional withdrawal, to consider how best to facilitate achievement of this goal,”  says the resolution in its paragraph 4.

On the other hand, the resolution calls on the parties to show commitment towards achieving a mutually acceptable political solution. In this regard, unlike last year’s resolution, the new text insist three times that the any political solution should in the “context of arrangements consistent with the principles and purposes of the Charter of the United Nations.”

The addition of this sentence in three paragraphs echoes the recommendation made in the report of the Secretary General in which he called on the parties to work towards achieving a mutually political solution and on defining the meaning and scope of the concept of self-determination.

The recommendation of the UN chief and the text of the resolution are in line with the position of Morocco, which has for long insisted that  independence is not only way of achieving self-determination and that autonomy is also among the arrangements of the United Nations that provide achieving self-determination.

The Security Council expressed “its full support for the commitment of the Secretary-General and his Personal Envoy towards a solution to the question of Western Sahara in this context to relaunch the negotiating process with a new dynamic and a new spirit leading to the resumption of a political process with the aim of reaching a mutually acceptable political solution, which will provide for the self-determination of the people of Western Sahara in the context of arrangements consistent with the principles and purposes of the Charter of the United Nations,”

To achieve this goal, it calls on “the parties to resume negotiations under the auspices of the Secretary-General without preconditions and in good faith, taking into account the efforts made since 2006 and subsequent developments, with a view to achieving a just, lasting, and mutually acceptable political solution, which will provide for the self-determination of the people of Western Sahara in the context of arrangements consistent with the principles and purposes of the Charter of the United Nations, and noting the role and responsibilities of the parties in this respect.”

The resolution calls on the Secretary General “to update the Security Council within six months of the appointment of the new Personal Envoy on ways in which the Personal Envoy, working with the parties, is progressing towards a mutually acceptable political solution, which will provide for the self-determination of the people of Western Sahara in the context of arrangements consistent with the principles and purposes of the Charter of the United Nations, and present a clear path forward.”

US and France lend their support to Morocco

But while the United States, penholder of the resolution, and France wanted to push for the resolution along the lines expressed in the first draft, other members called for the adoption of a more nuanced and more balanced resolution.

The main bones of contention were the need that Polisario withdraw from the Guerguerat region and respect the ceasefire agreement, and the approach that the Security Council will adopt to help the parties reach a mutually acceptable political solution.

“The differences relate to how the Council addresses the situation of Guerguerat, and also how it addresses the parties’ proposals. It appears that the Council is leaning for the Moroccan proposal submitted to the Council in 2007,” the same source said.

“The text was leaning or very favorable to Morocco as prepared by the US, especially in these two areas. Therefore, there was some disagreement from other members that do not agree with this approach,” the same source added.

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