The UN renews the mission in Western Sahara for six months and urges to negotiate

ecodiario.- The UN Security Council today renewed the mission of the organization in Western Sahara (Minurso) for six months and urged Morocco and the Polisario Front to resume negotiations to end the conflict.

The decision is contained in a resolution adopted with twelve votes in favor and abstentions from Russia, China and Ethiopia, a document that calls for moving towards a “realistic, viable and durable” political solution for the people of the Spanish ex-colonial.

In addition, it asks the Polisario to withdraw “immediately” from the zone of separation in the Guerguerat area, in the south of Western Sahara; expresses concern over its plan to move administrative activities to Bir Lahlu, in the northeast; and asks it to refrain from this type of “destabilizing actions”.

According to the United States, promoter of the resolution, the central idea is to try to unblock the negotiations during the coming months, taking advantage of the efforts being made by the new UN envoy, the former German president Horst Köhler.

The emphasis on the need for a “realistic” solution is one of the main novelties of the text.

For years, Morocco has argued that the only realistic option to end the conflict is its proposal for autonomy for the territory, while the Polisario insists on the need to hold a referendum that includes independence between options.

Traditionally, the United Nations has backed its resolutions for a “just, lasting and mutually acceptable political solution that provides for the self-determination of the people of Western Sahara.”

That language remains in one of the paragraphs of the resolution passed today, in which the parties are asked to return to negotiations.

However, the prominent inclusion of the call for a “realistic” solution can be seen, according to diplomatic sources, as an approach to the Moroccan theses.

That was precisely one of the most discussed points of the resolution, which for countries like Russia or Ethiopia was unbalanced.

Those reservations led the United States, the promoter of the text, to delay until today the vote originally scheduled for Wednesday in order to try to iron out differences.

Finally, that point remained in the final resolution, whose main change with respect to the original draft was the renewal of the mandate of the Minurso for six months instead of one year.

This means that the Security Council will have to return to the question of Western Sahara next October.

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