UN-Sahara: 1st Briefings of MINURSO Chief & Assistant SG for Africa Before Security Council
Security Council members are expected to hold this Wednesday consultations behind closed doors on the Sahara. The newly appointed Head of MINURSO Russian Alexander Ivanko and Assistant Secretary-General for Africa in the Departments of Political and Peace-building Affairs and Peace Operations (DPPA-DPO) Martha Ama Akyaa Pobee will make their first presentations before the Council.
Pobee took over from Bintou Keita in May, while Ivanko replaced Colin Stewart in August. The Council’s meeting comes after the appointment of Staffan de Mistura as new UN Sahara envoy in replacement of Horst Köhler, who resigned from the post in May 2019.
On 1st October, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres submitted to the Council a report on the Sahara. The report is issued once a year, usually close to the MINURSO’s mandate renewal date. MINURSO’s mandate expires on 31 October and a vote on a draft resolution renewing the mission’s mandate is scheduled for 29 October.
In his report to the Council, UN Chief has reaffirmed Algeria’s role in the Sahara conflict and reiterated call for a political, realistic, lasting and mutually acceptable solution to the regional dispute.
He also drew the Council’s attention to the embezzlement by the Polisario of humanitarian and financial aid destined to the sequestered population in the Tindouf camps, in Algeria.
The UN Secretary General hailed the diplomatic and economic achievements accomplished in the Moroccan southern provinces, citing in this regard the opening of at least 26 consulates, mostly of African countries, in Saharan cities of Laayoune and Dakhla.
He 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.
The report underlined the violations by the polisario militias of the cease-fire and obstructions of the southern Moroccan Guerguarat crossing point at border with Mauritania.
He also affirmed that the Algeria-backed polisario has no status at the United Nations, dealing a hard blow to the separatist group and its supporters.
The UN chief deplored the deteriorating humanitarian situation in the Tindouf camps in Algeria, while the polisario leaders live in a luxurious lifestyle, paid by Algerian regime with taxpayers’ money.