Rabat - The United Nations Security Council will likely postpone the adoption of a new resolution on the Western Sahara conflict to Wednesday, October 31.
A source at the United Nations told Morocco World News that the draft resolution has not been presented yet to the “rest of the members of the Security Council.”
Traditionally, the members of Group of Friends for Western Sahara hold a couple of meetings during which they agree on the overall language of the draft resolution.
The small group, which includes, the US, France, the UK, Russia, and Spain, circulates the Western Sahara draft resolution to all Council members a few days ahead of the adoption of the resolution.
However, the first meeting of the group took place only Thursday, October 25.
MWN’s source said that that the US, penholder of the resolution, has been unable to submit the draft resolution due to some differences with France on the duration of MINURSO’s mandate. France wants the mandate to be renewed for one year, while the US is in favor of a six-month extension only.
Morocco, France, and the United Nations Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, are all in favor of a one-year extension for the UN mission in Western Sahara. In his annual report on Western Sahara, submitted to the Security Council on October 3, the UN chief said that a one-year extension would be beneficial for the UN-led political process.
Guterres said in his report that a one-year extension would give him and his personal envoy for Western Sahara, Horst Kohler, time and space to create the necessary conditions to allow the UN-led political process to move forward.
On Monday, October 22, Morocco’s ambassador to the US Lalla Joumala met with US Under Secretary for Political Affairs David Hale. An official source, who asked to speak on the condition of anonymity, told MWN that the Moroccan ambassador sought to garner Trump’s administration support for a one-year extension for the MINURSO mandate.
Following Hale’s meeting with Lalla Joumala, the US Department of State said that Guterres met with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Hale on Tuesday, October 23.
Though the communique of the US Department of State did not specify the agenda of the meeting, its timing suggests that the UN chief is trying to lobby the Department of State to endorse its recommendation for a one-year extension for MINURSO’s mandate.
It remained to be seen whether the UN chief’s efforts have been successful in convincing the American administration, especially President Donald Trump’s national security advise rJohn Bolton, to mollify its position.
Bolton has been notorious for his less-than-friendly opinions about the UN whether when he was US ambassador to the UN between 2005-2006 or after he left his position.
Bolton, who served on the team of former UNSG Personal Envoy for Western Sahara, James Baker, between 1997-2004, has often slammed the UN and denounced its ineffectiveness in resolving the issues on its agenda.
Bolton has masterminded the Trump Administration’s decision to cut its contribution to MINURSO from $16 million to $8 million next year.