UN Resolution 2440, adopted Wednesday, pressures the Polisario Front to refrain from provocative actions in Western Sahara.
In the resolution, the 15 members of the Security Council calls on the Polisario Front to refrain from taking any action that might destabilize the region or seek to change the status quo in the areas located east of Morocco’s defense wall and the buffer strip at Guerguerat.
In the second part of the sixth operative paragraph, the resolution “calls on the Frente Polisario to fully adhere to its commitments to the Personal Envoy with respect to Bir Lahlou, Tifariti, and the buffer strip at Guerguerat.”
Analysts say that This paragraph in itself is a “winning card” for Morocco because it mentioned Tifariti, which has long been called a “liberated zone” by the separatist group.
The first draft resolution, obtained by Morocco World News, did not include Tifariti.
The final version Wednesday, however, added Tifariti, which Morocco considers a diplomatic gain. As a result of the strong language used in the new resolution against Polisario’s provocative actions, the front is unlikely to take similar actions to its moves in the past two years.
It is not the first time the Security Council has warned against a change in the status quo of the region. In April, the Security Council voted on Resolution 2414, which expressed concern over Polisario’s presence in Guerguerat.
Like Resolution 2414, the new resolution renews MINURSO’s mandate for six months only, an extension that was highly supported by the US.
France and other countries, such as Guinea and Côte d’Ivoire and Kuwait, supported the UN and Morocco’s preference for a one-year extension for MINURSO’s mandate.
The US aimed for a six-month extension in order to pressure the parties to the conflict to show their willingness to be involved in serious negotiations before accepting a one-year extension for the MINURSO mandate.
Morocco also has commended the resolution’s call for Algeria to show commitment to the UN-led political process.
Resolution 2440 “notes that invitations to an initial roundtable meeting in Geneva on 5 and 6 December 2018 were sent on 28 September 2018, welcomes that Morocco, the Frente Polisario, Algeria, and Mauritania have responded positively, and encourages them to work constructively with the Personal Envoy, in the spirit of compromise, throughout the duration of this process to ensure a successful outcome.”
The resolution also shows support for the political process led by UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres and his Personal Envoy Horst Kohler.