The search for a new personal envoy for Western Sahara is still ongoing, the UN chief reiterated.
The UNSG noted that, though the UN peace process has not yet come to a clear resolution, the conflict is a complex one.
“I remain convinced that with a strong political will on the part of the parties and the international community, a solution is possible.”
Guterres added that the UN remains fully committed to supporting the process to find an agreed-upon and mutually acceptable solution to end the conflict.
For Guterres, the conflict has been going on for “too long.”
To avoid a stalemate, the UN urges all parties—Algeria, Morocco, Mauritania, and Polisario—to engage in a dialogue “in good faith.”
The dossier was progressing in 2018 and 2019 before the resignation of former personal envoy Horst Kohler in May of last year.
Kohler managed to convene the parties to the conflict in two round tables in Geneva. The resignation of the envoy, for health reasons, surprised all parties.
The UN chief said that a selection process is underway.
“I hope to be able to appoint someone as soon as possible,” he said.
Morocco, seeking to formalize its sovereignty over Western Sahara and ensure its territorial integrity, is committed to supporting the UN-led process.
Morocco submitted its proposal, the autonomy initiative, to the UN in 2007. The plan has been described by the international community as a “credible and serious” plan to end the conflict.
The Moroccan government also stresses that it will not accept a solution that undermines its sovereignty over the region.
Algeria, a supporter of Polisario’s independence claims, however, continues to refuse to assume its responsibility in the conflict. The Algerian government identifies itself as merely an observer, claiming that the conflict should be solved between Morocco and the Polisario Front.
The UN Security Council Resolution 2494 of October 2019 referenced Algeria five times, three times in the preamble and twice in operative paragraphs, emphasizing the need for the country to engage in the political process.