Sahara: Security Council votes Wednesday on MINURSO mandate

The Security Council will hold tomorrow, Wednesday, a session dedicated to the Western Sahara issue that was originally scheduled for Monday (Oct. 29). The Council fifteen members will decide the extension of the mandate of the UN mission in the Sahara MINURSO.

The last-minute postponement was meant to iron out the differences between the United States, which is calling for renewing the MINURSO mandate for six months only, and France, which supports a one-year renewal, an option proposed and backed by the UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres.

At the instigation of John Bolton, Washington seeks to limit this mandate to six months, as was done at the previous session of the Security Council, to encourage the parties to the conflict (Morocco, Algeria, Mauritania and Polisario) to make progress in the political settlement process of the Sahara conflict.

On his part, the UN Chief Antonio Guterres, supported unreservedly by French diplomacy, prefers a one-year mandate to give his personal envoy for the Sahara, Horst Köhler, enough time to incite the four protagonists to take concrete steps to push forward the UN settlement process.

Actually, Horst Köhler has invited the four protagonists to a round-table in Geneva next December 4-5.

“I recommend to the Security Council to extend the MINURSO mandate by one year, until 31 October 2019, in order to give my emissary the space and time necessary to create the conditions for the political process to move forward,” said the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres in the report on the Sahara he submitted to the Security Council early October.

Apart from the United States, the other members of the “Western Sahara Friends Club” and China all support the option of a one-year term, as proposed by the UN Secretary-General.

In the corridors of the United Nations, it is said that the Moroccan autonomy plan, repeatedly qualified by the Security Council as “serious and credible”, will once again impact the content of the new resolution to be adopted Wednesday.

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