With discussions about the MINURSO mandate out of the way, Morocco’s UN representative says the next step should be to commit to Kohler’s legacy.
Rabat – “This resolution paves the way for the next UN envoy to continue from where President Horst Kohler left off,” said Morocco’s UN representative after the UN Security Council’s meeting on Western Sahara.
While “happy” with Resolution 2494, the latest UN Security Council resolution on the Western Sahara conflict, Omar Hilale said there is still some way to go for all parties to commit to a “constructive” and “responsible” settlement process.
Adopted yesterday, the resolution renewed the UN peacekeeping mission for a year and urged all concerned parties in the territorial dispute to seriously engage in the political process.
In his remarks, made at a press conference on the sideline of the Security Council meeting, Ambassador Hilale said “Morocco is satisfied” with what it sees as yet a further acknowledgement of its efforts towards sustainable and lasting peace in the disputed territory.
“Resolution 2494 is more than a technical renewal of the MINURSO mandate,” he said. He went on to emphatically explain how, in “consecrating” the roundtable habit as part and parcel of the UN process in Western Sahara, the newly adopted resolution is an extension of the “new momentum” initiated under Horst Kohler, the UN Western Sahara envoy who resigned last May for health reasons after two years of effective mediation.
Hilale was full of praise for Kohler’s two-year tenure as UN envoy. He emphasized that the German diplomat’s legacy must be upheld to preserve the “positive momentum” that his “devotion” and “pragmatic” mediation inspired in the first place.
The final resolution adopted during Kohler’s tenure has largely been interpreted as the resolution that unequivocally suggested self-determination is no longer a viable route for the Western Sahara political quagmire. Since 2007, when Morocco presented its Autonomy Proposal to the Security Council, the UN-led mediation for Western Sahara has predominantly advocated for a compromise-based route.
However, it was Resolution 2468, the last one under Kohler, that mentioned a political solution based on “pragmatism,” “realism,” and “compromise” as the most practical way to end the decades-long deadlock in Western Sahara. It was also the first resolution to plainly refer to Algeria and Mauritania—until then described as “observer states”—as integral parties to the conflict, urging them to be more engaged in settlement negotiations.
Hilale suggested any steps to be taken after Resolution 2494 should be a continuity of Kohler’s legacy. For him, such continuity would not only entail a total rupture from the “old” and “obsolete” insistence on self-determination, but also a principled commitment to the spirit of “pragmatism” and “compromise” now well-established in UN circles working on Western Sahara.