Thirteen members of the Security Council voted for the new UN resolution, and only South Africa and Russia abstained from the vote.
Rabat – The UN Security Council has voted on and adopted Resolution 2468, extending the mandate of the UN peacekeeping operation in Western Sahara, also known as MINURSO, for six months.
Russia and South Africa abstained from the vote.
The resolution calls on the parties in the conflict to achieve a realistic and durable solution to the conflict.
The vote followed another strong debate between the US and France over the length of MINURSO’s mandate. While France asked for one year, the US supported only a six month extension.
Like previous resolutions on Western Sahara , the new text reaffirmed commitment to “assist” the parties involved in the conflict to achieve a “realistic, practicable and enduring political solution to the question of Western Sahara based on compromise.”
The resolution also keeps the same language contained in previous resolutions in which the Security Council gives prominence to the Moroccan autonomy plan.
The resolution takes note of “of the Moroccan proposal presented on 11 April 2007 to the Secretary-General and [welcomes] serious and credible Moroccan efforts to move the process forward towards resolution.”
Preambular paragraph seven reiterates the council’s call upon Morocco, the Frente Polisario, Algeria and Mauritania to cooperate more fully with each other, including through building additional trust, and with the United Nations, as well as to strengthen their involvement in the political process and to achieve progress towards a political solution.
The language of this paragraph brings a new and significant change in comparison to the previous resolution. While in resolution 2440 the Council makes a distinction between the parties and neighboring states, the new resolution removes this distinction and names the four parties on equal footing.
The resolution also called upon the parties—Morocco, Algeria, Polisario, and Mauritania—to “cooperate more fully with each other, including through building additional trust, and with the United Nations.”
The resolution echoed a statement from UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and his Personal Envoy Horst Kohler, who recalled that trust is necessary to end the 44-year-old conflict.
The conflict, according to Resolution 2468, requires all parties’ strong commitment and involvement in the political process “to achieve progress towards a political solution.”
The resolution also stresses that a political solution to the conflict would contribute to stability and security “in turn leading to jobs, growth and opportunities for all the peoples in the Sahel region.”
Contrary to the anti-MINURSO sentiment shared of US National Security Adviser John Bolton, the Security Council expressed its full support for MINURSO and its “important role played” on the ground. The resolution also insisted on the importance of the mission’s mandate, including “its role in supporting the Personal Envoy to achieve a mutually acceptable political solution.”
The text also includes a paragraph in which the Security Council expressed concerns about the “violations of existing agreements.”
The UN annual report on the Western Sahara situation mentioned several violations committed out by the front, with Guterres urging Polisario’s militias to meet MINURSO’s staff in Rabouni, Algeria, and not in the area Polisario claims is “liberated zones.”