In his recent report on Western Sahara, Guterres said that he asked Polisario leader Ibrahim Ghali that meetings between the separatist group and the UN representative take place as usual in Rabouni near Tindouf, in Algeria.
However, Guterres said that Polisario “insists” that members of the Polisario Front and UN Special Representative for Western Sahara Colin Stewart should meet in east of the defense wall that Morocco built in Western Sahara.
According to the UN chief, the situation forms a “significant obstacle to the relationship between MINURSo and Frente Polisario, which is currently limited to telephone and written contracts between my Special Representative and the Frente Polisario Coordinator.”
Morocco is firm that any meeting between a MINURSO representative and Polisario in Western Sahara “would constitute a recognition of Frente Polisario’s control over the territory east of the berm.”
The UN chief, called on Polisario to meet UN representatives in Rabouni to stick to the long-established practice.
“I, therefore, call once again on Frente Polisario to resume of meetings with senior MINURSO leadership in Rabouni, in accordance with the long-established practice,” Guterres said in his report.
The report, which was submitted to the UN Security Council on October 3, gave an overview of the situation in Western Sahara during the six months since the UN mission’s mandate in Western Sahara was renewed.
The UN report called on the UN Security Council to extend the mandate of MINURSO to one year, until October 31, 2019.
According to Guterres, an extension will give his Personal Envoy Horst Kohler, “the space and time for his efforts to create the conditions necessary for the political process to move ahead.”
The UN report also recalled King Mohammed VI’s letter addressed to the UN on March 30 to denounce repeated provocations and violations of the ceasefire by Polisario
Earlier this year, Morocco called on the UN to put pressure on Polisario in order to stop its violations of UN resolutions and the ceasefire agreement through maneuvers in the region.
The Security Council will hold three meetings this month to decide on MINURSO’s mandate, which will end on October 31.