Western Sahara: Morocco Warns UN against Biased Approaches

sm-le-roi-ban-ki-moonKing Mohammed VI warned in a phone conversation Saturday with the UN Secretary General against any biased approaches or risky options in the political settlement process of the Western Sahara issue.
The royal initiative comes on the eve of the renewal by the UN Security Council of the mandate of the UN mission in Western Sahara, the MUNIRSO, which expires on April 30.
Last year, Morocco had managed to abort an attempt by the U.S. ambassador to the UN to have the Security Council adopt a draft resolution on the extension of the MINURSO mandate to human rights monitoring in the Sahara, while its mission is limited, since it was established in 1991, to supervising the cease -fire in the disputed territory.
During the phone call, King Mohammed VI drew the UN chief’s attention to the imperative necessity to preserve the negotiation parameters as defined by the Security Council, to safeguard the existing framework and procedures with regard to the UN involvement, and to avoid biased approaches and hazardous options.
“Any deviation from this track will be fatal to the ongoing process and will hold dangers for any UN involvement in the issue,” warned the Moroccan ruler who reiterated however his country’s unwavering commitment and constructive cooperation to reach a final political solution to this regional dispute, in the frame of Moroccan sovereignty.
A Rabat-based diplomatic source told AFP news agency that the king’s cautionary call came in response to “some shift” in Ban’s report, which insists on monitoring human rights respect in Western Sahara.
For the diplomat, “it is question of anticipating any possible slippages and any dangerous scenario” for the Western Sahara settlement process, a process in which Morocco has made considerable efforts and proposed an autonomy plan for the territory under its sovereignty.
Morocco seems ready to withdraw from the whole process underway in case there is any slippage at the level of the UN.