11 July 2007 The Security Council today welcomed news that United Nations-sponsored talks on Western Sahara between Morocco and the Frente Polisario, along with neighbours Algeria and Mauritania, are set to resume next month, voicing hope that “substantial negotiations” will take place.
In a statement to the press read out by Ambassador Wang Guangya of China, which holds the rotating Council presidency this month, the 15-member body said it was very pleased that the two parties and the neighbouring States had met for talks outside New York on 18-19 June.
“The members of the Security Council support the agreement by the parties that negotiations will continue in the second week of August under UN auspices and expresses their hope the parties will use the next round of negotiations to engage in good faith in substantial negotiations on the way forward,” Mr. Wang said.
In a communiqué issued after last month’s talks, the Secretary-General’s Personal Envoy for Western Sahara, Peter van Walsum, said the parties had agreed to continue their negotiations, which were held at the Greentree Estate in Manhasset, in the second week of August.
Mr. van Walsum briefed the Council in a closed session this morning on the latest developments in Western Sahara and on the most recent report of the Secretary-General on the status and progress of negotiations.
Speaking to reporters after today’s Council meeting, Mr. van Walsum said the recent talks had been “a positive first step” towards resolving the situation in Western Sahara, where the UN Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO) has been in place since September 1991 to monitor the ceasefire between Morocco and the Frente Polisario, which contest the territory.