French news agency AFP reported on Thursday that France backed the request of UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, who called on the Security Council to extend the mandate of the UN mission in Western Sahara for one year.
“France’s position is to push for a one-year renewal, in accordance with a recommendation of the UN Secretary General,” French Ambassador to the UN Francois Delattre told AFP.
“We believe that the current trend, the current momentum, is positive,” he said during closed consultations at the Security Council.
A source, speaking on condition of anonymity, from the council meeting told AFP the US is calling for a new renewal of only six months.
“The United States has been very firm,” the diplomat told AFP.
A six-month extension would pressure the parties into resuming talks, as they are doing in December in Geneva, Washington said, added the source.
Earlier this month, the personal envoy of the UN Secretary-General, Horst Kohler, invited Morocco, Mauritania, Polisario, and Algeria for talks in Geneva.
Morocco and the front confirmed that they will attend the round-table, while Algeria and Mauritania have not issued any response yet to the invitations.
Kohler gave the parties until October 20 to respond to the invitations.
Guterres called on the parties to respond to Kohler’s invitations favorably and without preconditions.
Morocco’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Nasser Bourita said in a closed meeting in Parliament last week that the Moroccan delegation is not going for negotiations.
He said that Morocco will attend the UN round-table in Geneva to reaffirm its conditions, which emphasize Morocco’s autonomy plan as a just solution to end the conflict.
Bourita also stressed that Algeria needs to contribute to the UN-led political process to find a solution for the conflict.
For years, Morocco has been calling for Algeria to contribute to the UN-led political process as a main party and not an observer.
Algeria hosts tens of thousands of Sahrawis in the Tindouf camps, where they suffer embezzlement of humanitarian aid and malnutrition, according to the latest UN report on Western Sahara.