PUSL.- At today’s meeting of the Security Council (SC) on Western Sahara, the extension of the mandate of MINURSO (United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara) was adopted with 13 votes in favour and two abstentions (Russian Federation and South Africa) for six months.
All members of the SC support the efforts of the UN Secretary-General’s personal envoy, Mr. Horst Koehler, and the performance of MINURSO and Colin Stewart.
The approved text was written by the United States, which was disappointed with the two abstentions and emphasized the need to accelerate the process to reach a mutually acceptable and realistic solution that results in the self-determination of the Saharawi people.
France, Morocco’s historical ally said that a realistic political process is needed and that Morocco’s proposed autonomy plan is a credible solution. They voted in favour, but they prefer a one-year rather than six-month mandate, arguing that they are more stable mandates.
The South African ambassador recalled the objective of setting up MINURSO, holding a referendum on the self-determination of the Saharawi people and emphasized South Africas concerns about the lack of balance in the text that favours one of the parties (Morocco) and does not value the same the efforts of both parties to the conflict. He also expressed concern about the terminology used such as “realistic solution” and “compromise” because it is not clear what is intended and dilutes the inalienable right of the Saharawi people to self-determination.
The South African diplomat lamented the non-inclusion of human rights in MINURSO’s mandate and the resistance to the inclusion by members of the SC that in other conflicts have been vehement in the inclusion of mechanisms for the protection of human rights.
The human rights of the Saharawi are not being treated with the same value as the human rights of other peoples in South Africa’s view.
The text should have distinguished the parties to the conflict in the description of the three meetings held under the auspices of the personal envoy. Thus, parts of the conflict are Morocco and POLISARIO Front and neighbours are Mauritania and Algeria.
For South Africa the so-called “groups of friends of the Sahara” (France, Spain, United States, Russian Federation and United Kingdom) a group created within the UN, must have the participation of a member of the African continent. According to the ambassador the last colony of Africa is Western Sahara and once again the conflict of an African country is given to be treated by countries that are not part of the African Continent.
Western Sahara will not know development without achieving self-determination and the freedom to which it is entitled. International solidarity that has enabled us to free ourselves from apartheid is imperative so that the liberation of Western Sahara can be achieved, the diplomat said.
The ambassador of the Russian Federation stressed the need to involve the African Union in resolving the conflict and reaffirmed the position of his country which supports the United Nations resolution to achieve a just and lasting solution to the self-determination of the Saharawi people.
Russia does not see as positive the changes that have been made to the MINURSO Mandate in the past and the elimination of previous parameters that guaranteed a solution to achieve the self-determination of the Saharawi people. Nor do they agree with the new terminology adopted which in the diplomat’s opinion does not lead to a conducive atmosphere in the negotiations.
The ambassador warned of the urgency of reaching a solution as the extension of the current Status Quo favours the instability of the region and opens up opportunities for dangerous groups.
Representatives of Côte d’Ivoire and Equatorial Guinea see the proposal for Morocco’s autonomy plan as credible. Equatorial Guinea went further in saying that Morocco’s sovereignty and territorial integrity must be defended and praised the presence of the CNDH (Moroccan Human Rights Council) in El Aaiun and Dakhla.