Rabat – The UN Security Council (UNSC) has once again reiterated its commitment to the ongoing political process in Western Sahara, pointing out the necessity of upholding recently-achieved political momentum.
Meeting behind closed doors at the UN headquarters in New York on Wednesday, UNSC members spoke unanimously of the need to maintain and further efforts to broker a political solution in accordance with the latest UN resolutions.
In converging statements about the importance of MINURSO, the UN peacekeeping mission in Western Sahara, most UNSC members also made positive comments on the Autonomy Plan Morocco presented in 2007, according to diplomatic sources cited by Morocco’s state media.
During the October 14 meeting, UN Assistant Secretary-General for Africa, Bintou Keita, and MINURSO chief Colin Stewart briefed the UNSC on recent developments in Western Sahara.
Echoing the UN Secretary-General’s latest report on Western Sahara, they raised concerns about Polisario’s repeated violations of the ceasefire. Members urged the militant group to respect UN resolutions and better adhere to the spirit of the political process.
Like UNSG Antonio Guterres, Security Council members also expressed their desire to renew the mandate of MINURSO, which they unanimously described as the key guarantor of the current “calm” in Western Sahara.
The distress of Sahrawi refugees in the Tindouf camps was another talking point during the UNSC meeting. According to MAP’s “diplomatic sources,” many participants condemned the “lamentable” living conditions in the Polisario-run camps, including human rights violations and the mismanagement of humanitarian aid.
This week’s meeting comes less than two weeks before a more consequential UN Security Council gathering on the Western Sahara conflict. On October 28, the UN body will once again convene to deliberate on the fate of MINURSO and the future of the newfound political momentum in Western Sahara.
While observers largely expect the council to side with the UNSG in extending MINURSO’s mandate, discussions remain about the length of the extension period.
Meanwhile, with Polisario and its foreign supporters now loudly denouncing MINURSO as ineffective and partial, the next UN Security Council meeting is sure to be a dramatic, eventful scene for followers of the Western Sahara question.