The United Nations recently called on African states to support its political process to find a mutually acceptable political solution to the conflict.
Rabat – The United Nations Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, has informed the Security Council of the African Union’s support for the UN-led political process to find an agreed upon and mutually acceptable political solution to the Western Sahara conflict.
Maghreb Arab Press (MAP) published excerpts from the annual draft report of the UN chief, in which he confirmed that the chairman of the AU Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat, assured the UN Secretary-General’s Personal Envoy Horst Kohler of the AU’s support for the UN-led political process.
Faki also informed the UN Secretary-General’s Personal Envoy Horst Kohler of the AU’s Decision 693, adopted in July 2018 in Nouakchott, which expressed support for the UN-led political process in the conflict.
“I wish to commend, in this regard, the recent decisions made by the AU Summit of Heads of State and Government, held in Nouakchott, which were consistent with the relevant international positions and principles,” King Mohammed VI said of the AU decisions.
Thirty-seven African countries repeated their commitment to back the UN as the exclusive arbiter in the conflict during the African Ministerial Conference on the African Union’s Role in Supporting the UN-Led Political Process in Western Sahara held in Marrakech in March 2019.
The same week as the Marrakech meeting, South Africa and Namibia co-hosted the SADC Solidarity Conference with the Sahrawi People in Pretoria to express their support for the Polisario Front. About 20 African countries attended the event.
Last week, the United Nations called on all states, including African countries, to show commitment to the UN-led political process.
Morocco’s dialogue initiative with Algeria
The UN chief recalled Morocco’s efforts towards the Maghreb Union, emphasizing that King Mohammed VI offered dialogue to Algeria in his speech of November 6, 2018.
Guterres added that the King called for an “end to the lack of unity in the Maghreb,” pointing out the King’s offer to create a “joint political mechanism of dialogue and construction” between Morocco and Algeria “without conditions or exceptions.”
Algeria, however, never responded to Morocco’s offer.
Guterres’s recent report also welcomed Morocco’s cooperation in the UN-led process in good faith for the “purpose of establishing a serious and credible political process, taking into account the lessons and experiences of the past,” according to MAP.
Notable development in Western Sahara
The Moroccan government has launched several programs and signed agreements to develop Western Sahara.
In his report, Guterres informed the Security Council that Morocco is investing in its southern provinces, recognizing Moroccan efforts towards socio-economic development.
Kohler welcomed the development in the region during his field visit in July 2018 to the cities of Laayoune, Dakhla, and Smara.
The Secretary-General also listed the two resolutions of the European Parliament adopted on January 16 and February 12, 2019, approving the extension of the agriculture and fisheries agreements between Morocco and the European Union. Morocco said the agreements, which included products from Western Sahara, would benefit the people of the region.
The Secretary-General mentioned that he received Morocco’s letter concerning the adoption of the two resolutions, which were the culmination of negotiations with representatives of the people.
The UN report is usually an annual document addressed to the Security Council before the end of the mandate of the UN peacekeeping mission in the region, also known as MINURSO.
The Security Council announced in a statement that it expects to hold consultations to renew the mandate of the mission “before it expires on 30 April.”
In April, according to the Security Council, Kohler is expected to brief the council on his latest activities and “Colin Stewart, the Special Representative for Western Sahara and head of MINURSO, is expected to brief on the Secretary-General’s MINURSO report, due in early April.”
The Security Council updated MINURSO’s mandate on October 31, 2018, extending its mission for only six months.