Sahara: UN Security Council Voices Full Backing to Köhler

The UN Security Council expressed on Thursday full support to the efforts made by the Personal envoy of the Secretary-General for the Sahara Horst Köhler to relaunch the Sahara negotiation process stalled since 2012 due to the intransigence of the Polisario and Algeria.

In a press statement issued by the Council President José Singer Weisinger (Dominican Republic), the members of the Security Council welcomed the Personal Envoy’s briefing, saying they stand ready to continue to support Mr. Köhler in the fulfillment of his mandate.

The Security Council also welcomed the participation of Morocco, Algeria, Mauritania, and the Polisario in the initial roundtable discussion held in Geneva Dec.5-6, added the statement.

The Council also noted the commitment of the parties to the Sahara conflict to participate in a second roundtable meeting in the first quarter of 2019 and voiced support for their ongoing and constructive engagement with the Personal Envoy.

Tuesday, Horst Köhler briefed the Security Council members on the first roundtable meeting held in Geneva and on his plans to advance the political process and convene a second roundtable in March.

Discussions in Geneva focused on stocktaking of recent developments, challenges and opportunities for regional integration, and next steps in the political process.

They were marked by the participation of Algeria, for the first time, as a main stakeholder in the process aiming to find a political, realistic, practical and lasting solution to the Sahara regional conflict.

Morocco insists that the autonomy plan offered for the Sahara should be the basis for any negotiation, while Algeria and the Polisario still cling to a self-determination referendum, an obsolete option deemed unworkable by the UN due to everlasting disputes over eligible voters.

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