PUSL.- Last Tuesday, January 29, 2019, the United Nations Security Council held private consultations on the question of Western Sahara during which members received information on the latest developments and heard the Personal Envoy of the Secretary-General, Mr. Horst Kohler.
Following the meeting Hilale, Morocco’s ambassador to the United Nations in New York, denied the existence of Saharawi political prisoners and reaffirmed that for Morocco there is no other acceptable solution than the autonomous plan of the “southern provinces” official Moroccan name relative to the territories of Western Sahara that Morocco invaded in 1975.
Hilal was clear, Morocco does not give or negotiate, the only solution is the autonomy plan “On this basis, we are ready to negotiate it and give largest operative power for the autonomy. Outside autonomy, nothing. We are not ready to negotiate anything.”
Nor does the Moroccan diplomat accept the intervention of the Security Council or the SG’s personal envoy regarding confidence-building measures which Hilale says should be addressed by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees rather than as part of the political process. ”
Morocco made an “open invitation” to 18 human rights experts to go to Western Sahara, Hilale said. This statement clearly demonstrates the absolute isolation to which the occupied territories of Western Sahara are voted which can only be “visited” by “invitation”.
Sidi Omar, UN representative for the Polisario Front, was clear in stating that a referendum for self-determination is the only acceptable option for the people of Western Sahara.
“Our position is very clear,” he said. “The only way for the Saharawi people to exercise self-determination is through a referendum.”
Despite the differing opinions, many board members are hopeful.
Morocco and the Polisario Front must meet for a second round of talks in March, according to UN diplomats this is a promising sign after the Security Council’s call last year to speed up the solution.
However, it is obvious that Morocco is not willing to give in or to abide by the agreement signed in 1991. The Referendum could include the option of the autonomy plan and thus accommodate all positions, but Morocco knows that the Saharawi population does not accept autonomy.
The United States, including national security adviser John Bolton, has been at the forefront of countries that are pushing for a solution to the dispute and an end to the UN mission. As the pen holder of this meeting of the Security Council the US announced the publication of a statement in the coming days.
Germany’s Heusgen said there is much support in the Security Council for Kohler’s proposal to examine different confidence-building measures at the March meeting, including demining and organizing family gatherings. These measures are nothing more than mere bandages. While the Polisario Front has actively destroyed antipersonnel mines having no stock and subscribed to the Geneva Convention. Morocco does exactly the opposite, having transformed the area along the 2720km Separation Wall into the most mined per capita area in the world and violating international humanitarian law.