The UN extends its mission in Western Sahara for another six months The UN extended its peace mission in Western Sahara (Minurso) for six months, instead of the traditional twelve, in order to continue pressing the parties to negotiate a solution to the conflict.

With twelve votes in favor and three abstentions, the United Nations Security Council gave its approval to a proposal by the United States, which was discussed until the last moment, given that countries like France preferred a one-year term.

At the US request, the Minurso had already been renewed last April for only six months in order to put pressure on Morocco and the Polisario Front to sit at the negotiating table after years of blockade.

For Washington, that approach has been successful and has facilitated that the two parties have agreed to meet next December in Geneva at a meeting organized by the UN mediator, Horst Köhler.

The meeting, which will also include Algeria and Mauritania, will be the first between Morocco and the Polisario since 2012 and the United Nations hopes that it will serve to lay the foundations for a real negotiation process.

The US Deputy Ambassador before the UN, Jonathan Cohen, said today that his country is satisfied with these developments, but considers that they are only a beginning.

“The political process is only beginning,” Cohen said after the vote, arguing that the six-month extension will allow the Security Council to closely monitor the issue and make clear its “determination to accelerate” the discussions to resolve the conflict.

On the other hand, the representative of France before the United Nations, François Delattre, considered that the extension for only six months is “a false good idea”, that does not have “real effects on the political process” and that, on the contrary, it can do the role of the UN more fragile.

Delattre insisted that abandoning the annual renovations of the Minurso must be something “exceptional”, since those longer mandates guarantee the “stability” of the peace operation.

France is traditionally the main ally in the Security Council of Morocco, which preferred a renewal of twelve months, as proposed by the Secretary General of the UN, António Guterres.

On the other hand, the Polisario Front was in favor of a shorter mandate for the Security Council to continue pressing Rabat to negotiate, according to the report of its representative to the UN, Sidi Omar, told reporters today.

Consejo Seguiridad ONU (31-10-18) Sahara Occidental – Estados Unidos de America: proyecto de resolución by on Scribd