The UN Security Council delayed its vote on Western Sahara
lavanguardia.com.- The UN Security Council will delay the vote of its annual resolution on Western Sahara, originally scheduled for this Wednesday, in order to try to iron out differences on the text, said today to Efe diplomatic sources.
Negotiations continue for the time being and the Council “is not yet ready to vote,” explained a Council diplomat who requested anonymity.
For now, a new date for the vote has not been established, which should be held in any case before the end of the month, when the mandate of the UN mission in Western Sahara (Minurso) expires.
In the text, in addition to extending the mission, the Security Council traditionally expresses its position on the latest developments on the ground and on the political process.
As every year, the United States is the country in charge of drafting the resolution, which is usually adopted by consensus.
On this occasion, the text proposed by Washington has met the resistance of several countries and is undergoing last-minute negotiations.
According to diplomatic sources, the language proposed by the US, the Frente Polisario does not like it, especially because it calls for progress towards a “realistic, viable and durable solution” to the conflict.
For the Saharawi organization, these terms are too far from the “just, lasting and mutually acceptable” political solution that the Security Council had been demanding and could be interpreted as an endorsement of the autonomy plan that Morocco defends against its commitment to a referendum on the future of the territory.
The US draft also expresses its concern about the presence of the Polisario within the “buffer zone” in Guerguerat, in the extreme south of the Sahara, and asks it to refrain from transferring administrative functions to Bir Lahlu, in the northeast.
In recent weeks, Morocco has repeatedly warned that it will resort to all means to evict Polisario elements from that area.
The area is under Polisario control and the UN made it clear this week that it does not consider Bir Lahlu or Tifarati to be inside the “buffer zone,” where a military presence is not allowed under agreements between the two parties.
On the other hand, the draft calls on neighboring countries to become more closely involved in the negotiations, a message addressed mainly to Algeria, which Morocco sees as part of the conflict and which has so far refused to intervene directly in the discussions.
Therefore, according to a diplomatic source, the initial US proposal is closer to the Moroccan theses this year.
The position, according to the source, is directly driven by the Administration in Washington and not from the mission to the UN.
Negotiations will depend on whether the text is modified at the last minute or if it is finally put to the vote in its original form.
Both the Security Council and the head of the United Nations, António Guterres, have said that they want the discussions between Morocco and the Polisario to be relaunched to try to close the conflict after years of blockade.
To that end, the new UN envoy, former German President Horst Köhler, has conducted a wide-ranging round of contacts over the past few months.