Rabat - The 15-member United Nations Security Council is expected to vote for a revised resolution on Western Sahara on Friday. The new version shortens the length of the UN mandate in the region and strengthens some language to emphasize the need for “realistic” solutions.
Rabat – The 15-member United Nations Security Council is expected to vote for a revised resolution on Western Sahara on Friday. The new version shortens the length of the UN mandate in the region and strengthens some language to emphasize the need for “realistic” solutions.
A document obtained by AFP confirmed that the Security Council will vote for the UN resolution on Western Sahara on Friday.
On Thursday, the UN reportedly submitted a revised draft resolution on the mandate of the UN mission in Western Sahara, also known as MINURSO. Though the Security Council was set to vote for the new resolution on Wednesday, April 25, but Russia and Ethiopia called the US draft resolution was not “balanced.”
According to AFP, the resolution proposes no significant changes, other than shortening UN mission in the Western Sahara (MINURSO) mandate to six months, instead of one year.
As in previous versions, the new version asks the parties to the conflict to engage in the UN-led political process to resume negotiations “without preconditions and in good faith” to find a solution to the four-decade conflict.
The document also called on Algeria, which has been denying its responsibility in the conflict recently, to cooperate in the UN-led political process to end the issue.
Furthermore, the first draft resolution pressures the Polisario Front to withdraw from the region and refrain from its illegal operations, including attempts to relocate “defense headquarters” to Bir Lahlou, which have significantly increased regional tension.
Stronger language, particularly in the conclusion of the resolution, constitutes an additional style shift away from the wording adopted by the UN since 2007. Specifically, the resolution calls for parties to work towards reaching a “realistic and practicable” resolution to the conflict.
The Security Council “emphasizes the need to make progress towards a realistic and practicable and enduring political solution to the question of Western Sahara based on compromise and the importance of aligning the strategic focus on MINURSO and orienting resources of the United Nations to this end.”
If the final language of the resolution stands, it would be the first time since 2007 that the Security so unequivocally uses “realistic” and “practicable.” In the past, the Security Council resolutions fell short of applying such direct language by simply calling on the parties to work “with realism and a spirit of compromise.”
Many believe this new language constitutes a blow to Polisario, who maintains that any solution to the conflict must go through the referendum of self-determination, with the option of independence. Morocco has rejected any resolution that would implement measures beyond the Autonomy Proposal it presented to the Security Council in April 2007.
Also Read: Russian Support for Morocco on Western Sahara Illusory
On April 4, King Mohammed VI addressed a letter expressing Morocco’s concerns over both Polisario’s maneuvers and Algeria’s repeated denial of its responsibility in the conflict.
The monarch underscored Algeria’s attempts to prolong the issue and its refusal to engage in negotiations that would contribute to end the issue.
“It is Algeria that hosts, arms, backs up, and brings diplomatic support for the Polisario.”
Officials from Algeria, including Prime Minister Ahmed Ouyahia and Foreign Affairs Minister Abdelkader Messahel both denied Algeria’s involvement in the conflict, claiming that the negotiations should be between Morocco and Algeria only.
However, Algerian news outlet TSA said that while Algeria keeps denying its involvement in the region, a public tragedy publicly contradicted their statements, when Polisario members and Algerian officials were collectively killed in a plane crash earlier this month.
The news source criticized Djamel Ould Abbes, Secretary General of Algeria’s National Liberation Front, claiming that the official should have kept the presence of Polisario on the flight secret “for several reasons.”
In an interview with Spanish Newspaper El Pais in August 2008, former United Nations Secretary General Personal Envoy, Peter Van Walsum, said that the establishment of a state in southern “was unrealistic.”