Western Sahara: Horst Köhler’s new contacts at European Parliament

UN Secretary-General’s Personal envoy for Western Sahara Horst Köhler held talks at the European Parliament headquarters on Tuesday (May 15) with Federica Mogherini, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy / Vice-President of the European Commission.

 

Köhler also briefed the European Parliament’s External Relations and Human Rights Committees on the latest developments in the Western Sahara issue and the UN’s way forward for the political and consensual settlement of the territorial dispute between Morocco and the Algeria-backed Polisario.

The German mediator’s visit to the European Parliament is part of his international consultations aimed at identifying the best way to restart the talks between Morocco, the Polisario and the neighboring countries, Algeria and Mauritania.

These talks have been frozen since March 2012, following the failure of the mediation of Köhler’s American predecessor, Christopher Ross. Actually, Ross failed to observe a neutral stand in his mission and took sides with the separatist theses upheld by the Polisario and its Algerian sponsors.

In his mediation, Köhler relies on the support expressed by the Security Council and the UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, for the relaunch of negotiations on the Sahara issue.

 

Eight months after his appointment, Horst Köhler has not yet unveiled the details of his action plan officially. Nonetheless, in its resolution 2414 adopted at the end of April, the Security Council invited stakeholders in the Sahara conflict, including Algeria, which persists in claiming its so-called neutrality in the conflict, to become fully involved in the UN-led settlement process.

In the same resolution, the Security Council insisted on “the leadership of the United Nations” in the settlement of the Sahara conflict despite Köhler’s consultations with leaders of other bodies, including the European Union and the African Union.

 

The Security Council also reiterated, like the European Union, that the Moroccan Autonomy Initiative for the Sahara remains a “serious and credible” option.

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