Sahara: UN Envoy Meets Top Moroccan Officials in Rabat

UN Envoy for the Sahara Horst Köhler, who is currently touring the region, met Wednesday in Rabat with Head of Moroccan Government Saad Eddine El Othmani and with Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita.

Köhler, a former German president and ex-director of the International Monetary Fund, arrived in Morocco within the frame of his second regional tour that has already led him to Algeria and Mauritania.

After Rabat, he will visit Morocco’s southern provinces to see the major socioeconomic development accomplished there. He is also expected to meet with local authorities, elected officials and representatives of the civil society and probably with the command of the UN Mission in the Sahara “MINURSO”.

The tour aims to deepen Köhler’s understanding of the reality on the ground, and discuss how to move forward in the UN-led political process, in accordance with Security Council Resolution 2414 adopted in April.

The Resolution welcomed the “serious and credible” Moroccan autonomy plan for the Sahara and voiced its full support for the UN Secretary General and his personal envoy for the Sahara to relaunch negotiations with “a new dynamic and a new spirit” with the aim of reaching a mutually acceptable political solution.

Convinced of the involvement of Algeria in the Sahara conflict, the Council urged “the neighboring States to cooperate more fully with the United Nations and with each other and to strengthen their involvement and to achieve progress towards a political solution”.

UN resolution 2414 also renewed the mandate of the UN mission to the Sahara, MINURSO, for another six months until October 31. It called on the parties to engage in a new round of negotiations without pre-conditions and urged neighboring states, Algeria and Mauritania, to contribute to “achieve progress towards a political solution.”

The Security Council reiterated that the status-quo is untenable, noting that a political solution is conducive to regional integration in the Maghreb and to regional peace and stability.

“A political solution to this long-standing dispute and enhanced cooperation between the Member States of the Maghreb Arab Union would contribute to stability and security, in turn leading to jobs, growth and opportunities for all the peoples in the Sahel region,” said the resolution.

After Morocco, Köhler will fly to Spain, a member of the Group of Friends of the Sahara, which also includes France, USA, Russia, and the UK.

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