Rabat - Morocco's permanent representative to the UN, Omar Hilale, has welcomed the UN Security Council’s new resolution to extend MINURSO’s mandate for six months, noting Algeria’s “historic” inclusion as “a main party” to the Western Sahara conflict.
During a press briefing following the UN Security Council’s adoption of Resolution 2440 extending MINURSO’s mandate for six months on Wednesday, Hilale pointed out the council’s inclusion of Algeria “for the first time.”
It is the first time that the council mentioned Algeria in its draft resolution since the launch of the UN-led political process in 2007.
Algeria has long avoided any direct involvement in the Western Sahara conflict and striven to ensure that the language of Security Council resolutions refers to it as a neighboring country, as opposed to part of the conflict.
Hilale said that to have Morocco, Mauritania, and Algeria participate in the meeting in Geneva, as the main concerned parties, is a “historic” event.
Hilale asserted that the “exclusive demand” for Algeria’s participation “does not stop at the Geneva roundtable meeting, but is to last through the entire political process, until the very end” of the conflict.
Morocco has long called on Algeria to shoulder its responsibility and admit its role as a main party to the conflict. According to exclusive information obtained by Morocco World News, Algeria’s inclusion in the draft resolution raised eyebrows in pro-Algeria quarters.
“After Resolution 2414 of last April, the new Resolution 2440 signifies a major development in the Western Sahara question initiated by the security council,” Hilale concluded.
The debate between the US, demanding a six-month the UN mission in the Western Sahara (MINURSO) extension, and France, pushing for a one-year extension, has ended with 12 votes in favor of six months until April 2019 by the 15-member Security Council, with three abstentions.
According to the final draft of the resolution, the Security Council expresses “full support” for the Secretary-General’s Personal Envoy Horst Kohler and his efforts to find an agreed upon and mutually acceptable solution for the Western Sahara conflict.