New UN chief wants to end Sahara conflict the soonest possible

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres wants to put an end to the longstanding territorial conflict over the Moroccan Sahara, in order, he said, to protect the Maghreb and Sahel region from terrorist threats and enable it to address economic challenges and human suffering.

In his first report on the Sahara issue to the 72nd session of the UN General Assembly, the new UN Secretary-General stressed “the need to end the Sahara conflict the soonest possible, to enable the region to address security threats, economic challenges and human suffering in a coordinated and humane manner”.

At the same time, Antonio Guterres reaffirmed his commitment “to re-launch the negotiations process on the basis of a new dynamic and a new spirit, in order to reach a political solution acceptable to both parties, in line with the principles of the UN Charter and goals”.

The UN Secretary-General covered in his report developments in the region during the period ranging from 1 July 2016 to 30 June 2017, pursuant to General Assembly resolution 106-71 of 27 December 2016.

He expressed concern at the “dramatic situation of the tens of thousands of refugees in the Tindouf camps” and the persistent opposition of Algerian authorities to conduct a census and register the refugees, in order to assess their real needs in humanitarian assistance, and at the same time to end the diversion of this humanitarian aid.

The Security council has called in its latest resolutions on the parties directly concerned by the issue to resume negotiations under the auspices of the UN SG without preconditions and in good faith, taking into account the efforts made and the developments occurred since 2006, including the Moroccan autonomy plan presented to the UN in 2007 with a view to achieving “a just, lasting and mutually acceptable political solution”.

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