The UN Security Council adopted Friday resolution 2414 renewing the mandate of the UN mission to the Sahara, MINURSO, for another six months until October 31, and urging the Polisairo to withdraw immediately from the buffer strip, east to the Morocco-built security berm.
The resolution, adopted by 12 votes for and 3 abstentions, also calls on Algeria to contribute towards achieving a political solution to the regional Sahara dispute.
The UN Security Council strongly condemned the recent Polisario’s provocations in the buffer strip, including its plans to set up administrative functions in Bir Lahlou, expressed “concern with the presence of the Polisario Front in the buffer strip in Guerguarat” and called for “its immediate withdrawal.”
The Security Council was firm in blaming the Polisairo for these actions, which amount, it said to “destabilizing actions” and stressed the need for a full respect of the military agreements reached with MINURSO.
Meanwhile, the Resolution lauded Morocco’s “measured response” to Polisairo’s ceasefire violations and illegal activities in the buffer strip.
The resolution took note of “the Moroccan proposal presented on 11 April 2007 to the Secretary-General” (a reference to the autonomy initiative) and welcomed the “credible Moroccan efforts to move the process forward.”
In this connection, the United States reaffirmed before the Security Council that the Moroccan autonomy plan remains “serious, credible and realistic” and represents a “potential approach” for the final settlement of the Sahara issue.
“We continue to view Morocco’s autonomy plan as serious, credible and realistic, and it represents one potential approach to satisfy the aspirations of the population in the Sahara to run their own affairs with peace and dignity,” Amy Tachco, Political Coordinator of the US Permanent Mission to the United Nations, told the Security Council following the adoption of the resolution.
The US diplomat, who insisted on the importance of resuming talks in the framework of the UN process and the mission of the UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy Horst Koehler, stressed the “special and important role” that neighboring countries can play in this negotiating process.
“We also hope that neighboring states will recognize the special and important role they can play in supporting this negotiating process,” she said.
“We call on the parties to demonstrate their commitment to a realistic, practicable, and enduring political solution based on compromise by resuming negotiations without preconditions and in good faith,” the US diplomat pointed out, adding that “entrenched positions must not stand in the way of progress”.
The Security Council Resolution also called on the parties to engage in a new round of negotiations without pre-conditions and urged neighboring states, Algeria and Mauritania, to contribute to “achieve progress towards a political solution.”
The Security Council reiterated that the status-quo is untenable, noting that a political solution is conducive to regional integration in the Maghreb and to regional peace and stability.
Morocco welcomed the Resolution as positive, saying it strengthens Morocco’s position.
“The Security Council resolution strengthens Morocco’s position and resolve in responding to recent Polisario provocations east of the security wall and in the buffer strip in Guerguarat,” Morocco’s representative to the UN Omar Hilale told the press in New York after the adoption of the resolution.
Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita on his part said in Rabat that renewing MINURSO mandate and condemning Polisairo’s provocations east of the berm is a “fruit” of the King’s unrelenting efforts to safeguard Morocco’s supreme interests.
The initiatives led by the Monarchy and the Moroccan diplomacy in defense of the country’s territorial integrity were echoed in the Security Council, he said, noting that the current resolution comes at a particular context marked by the “repetitive ceasefire violations by the Polisario at Algeria’s instigation.”
The resolution stressed Algeria’s involvement in the conflict and urged its effective contribution to find a political solution.
“It is Algeria which arms and hosts the Polisairo,” the Foreign Minister recalled, adding that Algiers uses its diplomatic apparatus to undermine Morocco’s territorial integrity.
The resolution condemned Polisario’s attempts to alter the legal status of the buffer zone east of Morocco’s security wall and rebuked the Algerian-backed separatists for defying the Council’s calls for respecting international law, he said.
Bourita added that the international community wants a relaunch of the political process under the aegis of the UN Secretary General’s Personal Envoy Horst Kohler in good faith.