Earlier this month, news about the potential appointment of a Slovak official as the new special envoy for Western Sahara went viral.
Rabat – Slovak Foreign Minister Miroslav Lajcak is no longer under consideration for the post of UN special envoy for the Western Sahara conflict.
The personal envoy post has been vacant since May 2019, when Kohler decided to step down from the position due to health problems.
All parties to the conflict – Algeria, Mauritania, Morocco, and Polisario – regretted Kohler’s resignation in recognition of his efforts to convene representatives of the parties into discussion roundtables.
International media, including AFP, France 24, and local media, speculated that the UN chief had found the right replacement earlier this month.
Due to complexity in the conflict, several candidates “refused” the post or “were rejected by one of the parties to the conflict,” EURACTIV reported, citing diplomats.
Traditionally, the UN should inform parties to the conflict of any appointment related to the peace process.
Reports that Lajack was being considered for the role rose to prominence recently, given his career as a diplomat in several posts before taking office as foreign minister of Slovakia.
The 56-year old official also served as president of the UN General Assembly for a year from September 2017-September 2018.
This is not the first time rumors on the appointment of a new envoy for Western Sahara have circulated. Last year in December, pro-Polisario news outlets claimed that Guterres had appointed former Australian foreign minister, Julie Isabel Bishop, as his new personal envoy for the conflict.
The UN, however, shared a press release to deny the reports about the appointment.
“I wanted to say that there were some rumors that the Secretary General has made a decision on the appointment of his next Personal Envoy for Western Sahara. This is not true and baseless,” said Farhan Haq, Deputy spokesperson of the UN Secretary-General.