Sahara: UN Secretary General’s Personal Envoy to Visit Region Next Week

Sahara: UN Secretary General’s Personal Envoy to Visit Region Next Week

Secretary General of the United Nations, Kofi Annan arrives at Bellevue Palace to be received President and Mrs Kohler

The new personal envoy of the UN Secretary General for the Sahara, Horst Köhler, will be visiting Tindouf on October 18-19, reported the Moroccan news portal le360 on Friday.

The announcement was made by the Polisario Front, said the portal, adding that the UN Official is also expected in Rabat, Algiers and Nouakchott.

Horst Köhler, who took up his functions on September 8 in New York, had announced later in the month his plan to travel to the region in October, and the Secretary-General welcomed the plan.

Köhler looks forward to travelling to the region and engaging with the parties in a spirit of trust and compromise, a UN spokesman had then said in a statement.

“The Secretary-General welcomed the intention of his Personal Envoy to travel to the region. He stressed the importance of the visit to help re-launch the political process in a new spirit and dynamic, in accordance with Security Council resolution 2351,” the spokesman said.

Since he took office and until September 16, Köhler held meetings and consultations with the Secretary-General and senior United Nations officials, as well as with representatives of the parties and neighbors, Member States and the African Union Commissioner for Peace and Security, the spokesman had said.

Following his trip in the region, the new UN envoy is expected to brief the Security Council by the end of October.

The Sahara issue was brought up at a meeting between the UN Secretary-General and Morocco’s Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita in New York in September. The two men discussed the relaunching of the negotiating process on the Sahara in a new dynamic and in a new spirit, as advocated by António Guterres in the report he submitted to the UN Security Council last April.

The negotiation process on the regional dispute over the Sahara has been in a deadlock for years, but analysts are expecting Köhler, who boasts more than 35 years of experience in government and international organizations, to lead UN mediation with pragmatism.


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