The alleged plan comes less than two weeks from the Security Council meeting, where the MINURSO mandate will be extended.
Rabat – The Moroccan government has allegedly thwarted a new initiative from US National Security Adviser John Bolton to include the monitoring of human rights to the mission of MINURSO, the UN peacekeeping body in Western Sahara.
Sources from the United Nations told Moroccan state-owned television channel 2M that the US has presented the first draft of a new Security Council resolution on the region to the Group of Friends on Western Sahara, which includes the US, the UK, Russia, Spain, and France.
Bolton, according to the sources, has been pressuring the group on the issue of human rights and MINURSO.
Morocco aborted Bolton’s attempts with diplomatic intervention inside and outside the UN, said the state television today.
France supported and Russia backed Morocco’s diplomatic actions to thwart Bolton’s maneuvers, the sources added.
They said that the US, in its capacity as a penholder of the upcoming resolution, was expected to submit a new draft to the Group of Friends on Western Sahara on Wednesday.
The 15 members of the Security Council will vote on the new resolution, set to extend the mandate of MINURSO, on April 29.
The new draft will not include the part which allows the “expansion” of MINURSO’s powers to monitor human rights, enabling “periodic visits by United Nations delegations to the region.”
Russia’s stance against Bolton’s plan comes after a meeting between Morocco’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Nasser Bourita and his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov last week, when Bourita reaffirmed that Morocco’s Autonomy Plan is the only solution the country can offer to end the conflict over Western Sahara.
UN sources theorized that Morocco had secured Russia’s neutral position on the conflict.
Last year, Bolton expressed frustration that the conflict has not ended yet.
“Ladies and gentlemen, 27 years of deployment of this peacekeeping force, 27 years and it’s still there? How can you justify that? I have got to know over the years the Saharawi people, I have enormous respect for them, I have enormous respect for the government and people of Morocco and Algeria, is there not a way to resolve it?” Bolton said at a Washington, D.C., event.
MINURSO is a UN peacekeeping operation created in 1991 under Resolution 690 to monitor the Morocco-Polisario ceasefire and the confinement of Moroccan and Polisario troops to designated locations and prepare for a referendum.
The Security Council renewed the mandate of MINURSO last on October 31, 2018, by extending its mandate for six months.
The Security Council is set to extend the mandate of MINURSO for another six months on April 29.