Press Release

Security Council

4523rd Meeting (PM)



Will Further Consider Secretary-General’s Four Options on Future of Peace Process

The Security Council today extended the mandate of the United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO) until 31 July 2002.

By unanimously adopting resolution 1406 (2002), the Council extended MINURSO's mandate, which expires today, so that it could further consider the report of the Secretary-General of 19 February 2002 on the situation in Western Sahara (document S/2002/178).

In that report, the Secretary-General proposes four options for the future of the peace process in Western Sahara.

As a first option, the United Nations could resume trying to implement the settlement plan, but without requiring the agreement of both parties -- Morocco and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Saguia el-Hamra and Rio de Oro (POLISARIO Front)-- before action could be taken.  Under that option, the Identification Commission of MINURSO would be reinforced, and indeed the overall size of the operation would be increased.

Under the second option, the Secretary-General's Personal Envoy, James A. Baker III, could revise the draft framework agreement, which envisages a devolution of authority to the inhabitants of the Territory with final status to be determined by a subsequent referendum.  Mr. Baker would take into account concerns expressed by the parties and others, but would not seek their agreement on the revised document.  Should the Council agree to that option, MINURSO could be downsized.

As a third option, the Council could ask Mr. Baker to determine whether or not the parties would now be willing to discuss, under his auspices, directly or through proximity talks, a possible division of the Territory.  Were the Council to choose that option, but the parties were unwilling or unable to agree upon a division of the Territory by 1 November 2002, Mr. Baker would show the parties and the Council a proposal for division of the Territory.

The Council would present that proposal to the parties as non-negotiable. Were the Council to choose that option, MINURSO could be maintained at its present size, or could be reduced even more.

Under the fourth option, the Council could decide to terminate MINURSO. Choosing that option would be an acknowledgement that, after more than 11 years and the expenditure of nearly $500 million, the United Nations was not going to solve the problem of Western Sahara without requiring that one or both of the parties do something they did not agree voluntarily to do.

The meeting began at 4:43 p.m. and adjourned at 4:45 p.m.


The full text of resolution 1406 (2002) reads, as follows:

The Security Council,

Recalling all its previous resolutions on Western Sahara, in particular resolution 1394 (2002) of 27 February 2002,

“1.  Decides to extend the mandate of United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO) until 31 July 2002 in order to consider further the report of the Secretary-General of 19 February 2002 (S/2002/178);

“2.  Decides to remain seized of the matter.”

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