UN Security Council renews mandate of Western Sahara Mission for one year

PUSL.- The Security Council vote that took place today adopted resolution 2494 renewing the mandate of MINURSO (Referendum Mission in Western Sahara).

Both Russia and South Africa abstained. Russia is a permanent member of the Security Council and is the second time to abstain from adopting a referent resolution of Western Sahara.

France another permanent member and traditional defender of Morocco’s position has been pushing for MINURSO’s mandate to be extended a year instead of the 6 months of the last vote in April this year.

The status quo remains, and MINURSO’s mandate will not include any mechanism to protect the Saharawi population under Moroccan occupation and victim of extreme human rights violations.

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RENEWAL OF MINURSO’S MANDATE: Western Sahara on Security Council Agenda

lecourrier-dalgerie.com.- In October, members of the Security Council, chaired by South Africa, should renew the mandate of the United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO) before it expires on October 31st.

Before that, they will meet in consultations to consider the report of the Secretary-General on MINURSO. Colin Stewart, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Western Sahara and Head of MINURSO, is expected to make a presentation on the report of the Secretary-General to MINURSO. As a reminder, on April 30, 2019, the Council adopted resolution 2468 renewing the mandate of MINURSO for six months. After the two round tables in which Morocco and the Polisario Front took part, the resignation of the special envoy the former German head of state Horst Köhler, blocked the dynamics of negotiations that he had initiated. As a reminder, a third round table was to follow, but Köhler resigned from his post abruptly on May 22 for “health reasons”. Since then, a search for a substitute is in progress and no announcement has yet been made, because of the prevarications of Morocco who claims, according to his propaganda organs, to reject a special US envoy. The mandate of the personal envoy is based on the ability to build trust between the parties. It must also have the support of the Security Council. Meanwhile, the situation on the ground remains tense.

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Hmad Hamad :”United Nations uses the occupied territories of Western Sahara as a military base”

PUSL.- Hmad Hamad (Saharawi activist and vice-president of CODAPSO -Committee for the Defense of the Right to Self-determination of the People of Western Sahara

The United Nations, namely MINURSO (United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara) has been in Western Sahara since 1991, the year of the signing of the cease-fire between the Polisario Front and Morocco. The cease-fire was based on a referendum that allowed our people to freely choose their destiny and achieve self-determination. After 28 years, we continue without a referendum and now under almost 44 years of occupation by Morocco.

MINURSO and the Security Council were not able to comply with what was determined at the United Nations and spent decades postponing the implementation of resolutions that would lead to the end of a 4-decade occupation.

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Western Sahara: Security Council renews MINURSO mandate for 6 months

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. Read more

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Western Sahara: Major General Zia Ur Rehman, of Pakistan, Appointed Commander of MINURSO

Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO)

United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres today announced the appointment of Major General Zia Ur Rehman of Pakistan as Force Commander of the United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO).

Major General Ur Rehman succeeds Major General Xiaojun Wang of China, whose tour of duty ended on 17 February 2019.  The Secretary-General is grateful to Major General Wang for his exemplary service and contribution to the work of MINURSO. Read more

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National Security Adviser to the White House, John Bolton, expresses “frustration” over the stagnation of Western Sahara

WASHINGTON, (elperiodicodemexico.com) – The National Security Adviser of the White House, John Bolton, expressed Thursday his “frustration” for the lack of progress in resolving the political dispute over Western Sahara and asked “how can it be justified” that the United Nations peacekeeping mission (MINURSO) continues to be extended.

Bolton has outlined the strategy of the Donald Trump Administration for Africa and has used the example of MINURSO, whose initial mandate he himself contributed to draft in 1991, to demand a change of approach in relation to international peace missions.

Trump’s advisor has acknowledged his “frustration” for the lack of progress in resolving the dispute over Western Sahara. “I would like to see this resolved if the parties can agree on a way out. That is my preference, “he told reporters at a Washington think tank, according to Reuters. Read more

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The UN extends its mission in Western Sahara for another six months


eldiario.es.- 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. Read more

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Report of the SG to the Security Council on Western Sahara raises questions

PUSL.- The Polisario Front sent a letter to the President of the United Nations Security Council (CS) with his comments on the report of António Guterres, UN Secretary-General (see here) presented to CS members on 3 October.

The report sent to the SC by the Secretary-General (SG) is intended for discussion prior to the meeting at the end of the month in which the extension of the mandate of MINURSO (United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara) will be decided. In the letter, the Polisario Front reaffirms its readiness to resume negotiations in accordance with United Nations resolutions but points out some concerns regarding the points of the Secretary-General’s report regarding the credibility of impartiality and independence of MINURSO and of the UN itself.

The Polisario Front explains in the letter that it is necessary to analyze the underlying causes of the Guergarat crisis  that have implications for the existing military agreements and the political process.

They also highlight the concern about illegal attempts to “normalize the situation” of the Moroccan military occupation of the occupied territories of Western Sahara. They also address the issue of meetings with the MINURSO Head in any place within the Mission’s defined area of ​​action.

As PUSL has published, there is a concern on the part of Horst Koehler, SG Personal Envoy for Western Sahara, with the “development” and “investments” of the Occupied Territories which is disconcerting in the face of the real situation in this non-autonomous territory and the serious violations of human rights. Read more

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Guterres urges UN Security Council to extend mandate of MINURSO

PUSL.- The UN Secretary-General today asked the Security Council to extend for a year the mandate of MINURSO (United Nations Mission for the Referendum of Western Sahara) to support the reinitiation of the political negotiations scheduled for December between Morocco and the Polisario Front.

“I recommend that the Council extends the mandate for a year, until 31 October 2019, to give my emissary the space and time necessary to create the conditions for the political process to advance,” wrote Guterres in a document obtained by French news agency AFP.

“I urge the parties and the neighbors to come to the negotiating table in good faith and without preconditions,” on December 5 and 6 in Switzerland. Read more

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Non-violent protests by young Saharawis in Smara

PUSL.- On 18 September, two young Sahrawi with higher degree, Said Abba Sheikh and Mohammed Ahmed Taleb Ahmad entered the area of ​​MINURSO (United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara) where they intended to deliver a letter addressed to António Guterres, UN Secretary-General , having previously sent a copy by e-mail.

In statements to PUSL Said Abba Sheikh reported what happened.

Since the beginning of 2018 a group of young Saharawi graduates from Smara have been carrying out various protest actions demanding their economic rights.

“The reality that we live in Smara is not what is advertised by the Moroccan occupation government, which says that it is all wonderful. We live in an occupied territory and as Sahrawi we do not have access to employment , so we decided to start a series of protests ”

One of the actions was a “sit in” in front of a building of the Smara Town hall for 38 days demanding their economic and social rights. Read more

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Letter to the SG UN of the two Sahrawi that were handed by MINURSO to the Moroccan authorities

PUSL.- Below is the letter sent this morning by two young Sahrawi students who were able to enter MINURSO’s headquarters in Smara, Occupied Territories of Western Sahara despite multiple check points.

Said Abba Sheikh and Mohammed Ahmed Taleb Ahmad were aware that MINURSO would most likely hand them out to the occupation authorities, as they have done over the years with a number of Saharawis who have sought out and asked for their physical safety inside the MINURSO mission.

In fact, shortly after entering the MINURSO area, the officials of the “peace” mission delivered the two young men to the Moroccan army that transported them to the Gendarmarie Royal headquarters.

In the letter that they had sent before this protest action to the SG, António Gueterres they were very clear, the claims presented are those of the Saharawi people – the right to self-determination, the end of violence against the population and respect for the most basic human rights.

The two young people are willing to risk their lives to send this simple message to the Secretary General, will anyone listen to them? Read more

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