The UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, has officially appointed Italian-Swedish diplomat Staffan de Mistura as his new personal envoy for the Sahara, announced Wednesday the UN spokesman.
Staffan de Mistura’s appointment has been announced after having been endorsed by the UN Security Council.
The United Nations Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, had actually begun consultations with the Security Council members on Staffan de Mistura’s appointment as his Personal Envoy for the Sahara in mid-September.
Morocco’s Permanent Representative to the UN Omar Hilale had then said that Morocco, which has been consulted beforehand about this appointment, had informed Antonio Guterres of its approval.
The Italian-Swedish diplomat succeeds former German President Horst Köhler, who resigned in May 2019, for health issues.
The New personal envoy is mandated to facilitate the exclusively UN process aimed at achieving a realistic, pragmatic, lasting and compromise-based political solution to the regional dispute over the Sahara. This solution must be in line with the resolutions of the Security Council since 2018, as reaffirmed by the UN Secretary General in his recent report to the Security Council on the Sahara.
In the letter of appointment addressed to the Security Council, the UN Secretary General said that Staffan de Mistura will work with Morocco, Algeria, Mauritania and the Polisario on the basis of resolution 2548 of October 30, 2021 and other resolutions of the Council, while taking fully into account the progress made so far, in order to achieve the political solution of the Sahara issue.
These Security Council resolutions, mentioned in the Secretary-General’s report, namely 2440, 2468, 2494, and 2548, reaffirmed that the political, realistic, pragmatic and compromise solution is the only way out of the Moroccan Sahara issue. Like all those that preceded them, for more than two decades, they have definitively buried the referendum and no longer refer to it. At the same time, the pre-eminence of the Autonomy Initiative, within the framework of the Kingdom’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, has been reaffirmed in the 17 resolutions adopted by the Security Council since the plan presentation in 2007.
In addition, these resolutions established the roundtable meetings, with the participation of Morocco, Algeria, Mauritania and the Polisario, as the only framework for conducting the exclusively UN political process. They mention Algeria five times, as many times as Morocco, confirming Algeria’s role as the main party in the regional dispute over the Moroccan Sahara, and calling on it to show realism and compromise in order to reach a political solution to this dispute.
In this regard, Staffan de Mistura should begin his facilitation in the coming weeks. In accordance with his letter of appointment and with Security Council Resolution 2548, he will start this facilitation where his predecessor left off, namely the roundtable meetings process, with its four participants and according to the same modalities.
Underlining that it was not easy to find a qualified candidate with an international stature to resume the political process, at a standstill since the resignation of Horst Köhler in May 2019, the Moroccan diplomat described
Staffan de Mistura is a diplomat of international stature and was a cornerstone of the UN’s efforts to settle disputes peacefully.
He has proven his abilities in Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq and Africa. His long international experience, his Mediterranean origins which have forged his deep knowledge of this region’s issues, his understanding of North Africa’s security and destabilization threats, as well as his UN-based independence and neutrality will be of great help in facilitating the political process of this regional dispute in a serene and fruitful manner.