Security Council extends UN’s Western Sahara mission for another year

Security Council

30 April 2009 – The Security Council today extended for one year the mandate of the United Nations mission tasked with organizing a referendum on self-determination in Western Sahara and monitoring the ceasefire between Morocco and the Frente Polisario.

In a unanimously adopted resolution, the Council called on the parties “to continue to show political will and work in an atmosphere propitious for dialogue in order to enter into a more intensive and substantive phase of negotiations.”

Morocco holds that its sovereignty over Western Sahara should be recognized, while the Frente Polisario’s position is that the Territory’s final status should be decided in a referendum that includes independence as an option.

Several rounds of talks between the two parties were held under UN auspices in 2007 and 2008 in New York but did not result in any substantial agreements.

The 15-member body added that “realism and a spirit of compromise” by the parties are essential to achieve progress in the negotiations, which are led by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s Personal Envoy Christopher Ross.

In his latest report on Western Sahara, Mr. Ban welcomed the commitment by the parties to continue their negotiations – as stated in the final communiqué issued at the last round – but he accepted the advice of his Personal Envoy that informal meetings be held first.

The Council today welcomed the parties’ agreement with the Personal Envoy’s suggestion to hold small, informal talks in preparation for a fifth round of negotiations.

The UN Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO) has been in place since September 1991.


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