Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Hervé Ladsous said he would pay a visit to Morocco this week to meet Moroccan officials and visit the headquarters of the UN mission to the Sahara, MINURSO.
The announcement of this visit surprised many as the UN Secretary General’s Personal Envoy Christopher Ross saw his visit to Morocco postponed on the backdrop of the holding of general elections earlier this month.
Ladsous told the press that he would hold talks with Moroccan officials and visit the MINURSO headquarters in the southern city of Laayoune. He added that he would also fly to Algeria to visit the Polisario-administered Tindouf camps.
This represents a first visit by the UN peacekeeping operations chief since the crisis that broke out between Morocco and the MINURSO on grounds of the controversial visit of the UN Secretary General to Tindouf camps where he described Morocco’s retrieval of its southern provinces as an “occupation”, thus violating neutrality and sidelining with the separatist thesis.
In addition to Ban Ki-moon verbal blunders, MINURSO has accumulated deviations from its main cease-fire monitoring mission leading Morocco to expel the civilian component of the UN mission from the Sahara. Following negotiations, the Kingdom accepted back 75 civilian MINURSO staffers.
Last August, the UN announced that Christopher Ross is ready for a visit to the region in order to relaunch the negotiation process. This trip is still being examined, said the UN spokesperson, Stephan Dujarric.
For his part, Ban Ki-moon is expected in Marrakech to attend the Climate summit, COP22, slated for November 7-18.