After Morocco was unanimously elected Vice President of the 72nd General Assembly that will run from September 2017 to September 2018, another victory was registered by a Moroccan diplomat who was voted Vice-Chair of the politically sensitive UN General Assembly’s fourth Committee on decolonization.
The Fourth Committee elected Yasser Halfouni of Morocco as the Vice-Chair by 88 votes to 58 for the Algerian candidate Zaina Benhabouche.
The election of Halfouni was the fruit of a Moroccan campaign stressing the need to maintain rotation in the Fourth Committee’s chairmanship and recalling Morocco’s precedence in listing the Sahara in the Fourth Committee’s agenda in 1960 when the area was under Spanish colonial rule.
Since Morocco retrieved its Sahara southern provinces, Algeria pulled the strings of the Polisario within the Fourth Committee in a vain attempt to undermine the Kingdom’s territorial integrity and alter the regional character of the conflict over the Sahara to serve its hegemonic aims in the region.
Morocco has on multiple occasions protested against maintaining the Sahara issue on the decolonization agenda of the Fourth Committee on grounds that it violates the UN charter and the mandate of the Security Council.
Article 12 of the UN charter, which clearly stipulates that “while the Security Council is exercising in respect of any dispute or situation the functions assigned to it in the present Charter, the General Assembly shall not make any recommendation with regard to that dispute or situation unless the Security Council so requests.”
The Sahara issue has been part of the jurisdictions of the Security Council since 1988 as part of Article VI. Therefore maintaining the issue on the Fourth committee’s agenda creates confusion and inconsistency with the UN Charter.
Moreover, the terminology used in the Security Council resolution has never labelled the conflict as a decolonization issue and has never called the Sahara as an occupied territory. The Security Council uses accurate terms calling the Sahara issue a “regional conflict.”