Germany requested the meeting after recent developments in Western Sahara, including the US decision to recognize Morocco’s full sovereignty over the region.
Rabat – The UN Security Council held a meeting behind closed doors on Monday to discuss recent developments on Western Sahara.
The meeting came after US President Donald Trump announced his decision to recognize Morocco’s sovereignty over Western Sahara on December 10.
During the Security Council meeting at the request of Germany, UN officials briefed the members of the body on the latest developments in the decades-long dispute.
The US move was unprecedented, taking by surprise both Security Council members and the whole international community following the lingering territorial conflict.
Prior to Trump’s announcement, Washington held a more ambiguous view of the Sahara issue.
Refraining from openly frustrating Algeria and the Polisario Front, the US promoted the UN-moderated political process while implicitly supporting Morocco’s autonomy initiative as a credible, realistic, and serious solution to end the Western Sahara conflict.
Polisario and its supporters, Algeria and South Africa, however, continue to oppose Morocco’s territorial integrity, promoting independence and a referendum.
Following the Security Council meeting, the UN reiterated its position regarding Western Sahara.
Stephane Dujarric, the spokesperson of the UN Secretary-General, said, “There are no major operational changes from our part.”
“Our position on the announcements regarding Western Sahara is unchanged and that … we continue to believe that a solution can be found through dialogue based on the relevant Security Council resolutions,” he said.
The UN resolutions continue to call on parties to the conflict, including Algeria, Mauritania, Polisario, and Morocco to engage in the political process to end the conflict.
The resolutions also repeatedly emphasize the importance and “credibility” of Morocco’s Autonomy Plan.
Morocco submitted the Autonomy Plan to the Security Council in 2007. The initiative suggests turning Western Sahara into a semi-autonomous region under Moroccan sovereignty.
The proposal would allow local populations to independently manage socio-economic and political issues, while a central Moroccan government would handle issues of national interest, such as defense and diplomacy. In October this year, the Security Council adopted Resolution 2548, its latest resolution on the conflict. The document reaffirmed the centrality of compromise and pragmatism,acknowledging Morocco’s genuine efforts to find a lasting and mutually acceptable solution to the conflict.
This week’s Security Council meeting also came a day before King Mohammed VI received Trump’s senior adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner and Israel’s National Security Adviser Meir Ben Shabbat.
The meeting sought to officialize the re-establishment of diplomatic relations between Israel and Morocco.
The visit of the US-Israeli delegation also served as an opportunity for Morocco to thank the US for its decision to recognize Morocco’s sovereignty over Western Sahara.