UN renews MINURSO’s mandate for another year

Security Council calls on all parties to work together to help UN find realistic and mutually acceptable political solution, welcomes Morocco’s autonomy plan.

LONDON - The United Nations Security Council renewed Friday the mandate of its MINURSO mission in Western Sahara for another year.

The resolution extending the mission for a year was drafted by the United States and received 13 votes in favour with abstentions by Russia and South Africa.

The UN resolution approved on Friday does not differ from previous versions. It called on all parties to work together to help the UN find a realistic and mutually acceptable political solution and welcomed Morocco’s autonomy plan.

Morocco annexed Western Sahara in 1975 and maintains it is an integral part of its country. The Algeria-backed Polisario Front began an armed conflict with Morocco for an independent state that lasted until the United Nations brokered a ceasefire in 1991.

Rabat considers Western Sahara an integral part of Morocco and proposes autonomy for the resource-rich territory.

The Security Council also urged UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres to appoint an Envoy to the territory to relaunch the UN-brokered talks between all the parties.

There has been no UN envoy for Western Sahara since the resignation in May 2019 of former German president Horst Kohler for health reasons.

Following a long period of inaction, two round tables in Switzerland in December 2018 and March 2019 brought together Morocco, the Polisario Front, Algeria and Mauritania, though without reaching any significant breakthroughs.

Many diplomats have lamented the difficulty in finding the right fit for Kohler’s replacement - someone who is willing to work on what sometimes seems like an endless dilemma.

The Security Council welcomed Morocco’s serious and credible efforts towards a political solution and stressed Algeria’s involvement in the political process.