UN Chief’s report to Security Council highlights key diplomatic & economic achievements in Sahara

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has submitted to the Security Council his annual report on the situation in the Sahara, highlighting the diplomatic and economic achievements accomplished in the Moroccan southern provinces.

This report is sent to the Council ahead of its planned debate on the Sahara in October. During this month, the Security Council members will receive a briefing on the MINURSO and vote on a draft resolution to renew the UN mission’s mandate, which expires on 31 October.

In his annual report to the Council, the UN chief recalled the opening, during the past year, of Consulates by 16 countries in the Saharan cities of Laayoune and Dakhla.

“Bahrain, Burkina Faso, Eswatini, Equatorial Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Haiti, Jordan, Libya, Malawi, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Suriname, the United Arab Emirates and Zambia have announced their intention to inaugurate or have opened Consulates General in the Sahara”, said Mr. Guterres in his report.

These diplomatic representations come after the 10 consulates of African, Arab, Caribbean and other countries, opened in the cities of Laayoune and Dakhla. In total, 26 countries installed consulates in the Moroccan Sahara since December 2019, showing the growing international and diplomatic recognition of the Moroccan Sahara.

The UN Chief also recalled the U.S. recognition of Morocco’s full sovereignty over its entire Saharan territory in December 2020 and its strong support to Morocco’s serious, credible and realistic autonomy plan as the only basis for a just and lasting solution to this conflict.

He also informed the Council of the opening of a virtual U.S. consulate in the Sahara in December 2020, shedding light on the economic development of the Moroccan Sahara and its modern infrastructures thanks to Morocco’s continued investments.

He cited in this regard, the ongoing construction of the $1.2 billion Dakhla Atlantic port and the Tzinit-Dakhla highway. The local Saharan population is the main beneficiary of these landmark projects expected to bolster economic activity in the southern provinces.

Last month, Morocco approved the candidacy of Italian-Swedish diplomat Staffan de Mistura proposed by UN Chief as his Personal Envoy for the Sahara. Rabat has always supported the UN Secretary General efforts seeking to achieve a political, realistic, lasting, and compromise-based solution to the regional dispute over the Sahara.

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