Moroccan Sahara: UNSG Special Envoy for Sahara to Tour Region to Meet Parties Concerned

The United Nations (UN) Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for the Sahara, Staffan de Mistura, is currently preparing for a tour in the region to meet the parties concerned, as part of the preparations for the next United Nations Security Council (UNSC) meeting on the Sahara issue.

Every October, the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) discusses the Sahara conflict and the ongoing mission of the United Nations Mission for the Referendum in the Sahara (MINURSO), assessing the progress achieved in the search for a solution per the relevant resolutions.

The United Nations (UN) Special Envoy for the Sahara, Staffan de Mistura, is preparing for a visit to the region in a tour that will also take him to several European countries.

According to the United Nations (UN) Secretary-General’s Deputy Spokesman, Farhan Haq, de Mistura has contacted the parties concerned before visiting the site, noting that the Special Envoy was in Brussels where he “held talks with the parties concerned before setting a date for his next visit to the region.”

The Special Envoy’s report following his trip will be the basis for a new United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolution and may decide on the continuation of the United Nations Mission for the Referendum in the Sahara (MINURSO). De Mistura’s latest visit was in July when he visited Morocco, Algeria, and Mauritania. 

The Special Envoy is challenged to convince the parties concerned to resume discussions and must continue the diplomatic efforts of his predecessor, former German President Dr. Horst Köhler, which culminated in meetings between representatives of Morocco, Algeria, Mauritania, and the +polisario+, which took place in Switzerland in December 2018 and March 2019.

On October 27, 2022, the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) adopted resolution 2654 on the Sahara with a majority of thirteen votes, with Russia and Kenya abstaining, a resolution that Morocco welcomed, while Algeria and the +polisario+ strongly criticized.

In addition to the fundamental question of sovereignty claims, the dispute also concerns the relevant parties to the conflict, as both Algeria and Mauritania claim to be external actors, and would prefer negotiations to take place solely between Morocco and the +sadr+. 

Morocco wishes Mauritania and, above all, Algeria to be considered parties to this conflict, particularly since Algeria has provided considerable logistical, political, financial, and military support to the +polisario+ and declared the +sadr+ struggle to be a national affair. 

Ironically, however, Algeria does not wish to take part in new talks, contrary to how things were under the leadership of Dr. Köhler.

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