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UN extends MINURSO’s mandate by one year, sees Gueguerate events as threat to peace and stability

On Friday, the United Nations Security Council adopted a new resolution on the Sahara issue, extending the MINURSO mission’s mandate by one year.

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The United Nations Security Council adopted, Friday, Resolution 2548, which extends the mandate of the MINURSO mission by one year. During the vote, two countries abstained, including Russia and South Africa.

The new resolution calls for the appointment of a new personal envoy to Western Sahara. It has been almost a year and half since Horst Kohler’s departure.

In a statement, the US mission to the United Nations said that it shares «fellow Council members’ frustration with the lack of progress on the political front, we would like to highlight the importance of the daily work of the peacekeepers».

«The Council will not overlook its responsibility to ensure progress towards a just, lasting, and mutually acceptable political solution. We remain concerned with the prolonged absence of a Personal Envoy», the statement read, urging the Secretary-General to «fill this position soon».

The American mission recalled, however, that Morocco’s autonomy plan is «serious, credible, and realistic, and it represents one potential approach to satisfy the aspirations of the people in Western Sahara to run their own affairs with peace and dignity».

It also called «on the parties to demonstrate their commitment to a realistic, practicable, and enduring political solution, based on compromise, by resuming negotiations without preconditions and in good faith. Entrenched positions must not stand in the way of progress».

Events in Guerguerate, threat to peace and stability in the region

The United States mission confirmed that it expects all parties to respect their obligations under the ceasefire, cooperate fully with MINURSO, and refrain from any actions that destabilize the situation or threaten the United Nations operation.

It also called on «all parties to exercise restraint, particularly in light of recent events in Guerguerate – which pose a threat to peace and stability in the region – and the general increase in violations highlighted in the Secretary-General’s most recent report. Moreover, unilateral changes to the status quo on the ground will not help us get to a lasting and peaceful solution».

The mission urged all parties to «meet and cooperate with SRSG Colin Stewart and cooperate with him, his staff and the entire MINURSO mission».

The UN Secretary-General’s report on the Sahara submitted to the UN Security Council previously confirmed the registration of a «significant increase in Polisario violations that have not yet been addressed», noting that while «eight violations are attributed to the Moroccan army», «53 violations are attributed to the Polisario's military forces».

Guterres also spoke in his report about a «significant deterioration in the level of cooperation on the part of the military forces of the Polisario Front» with the MINURSO mission, stressing that the Front sought «to prevent the mission's patrols from entering most of its units, as well as to specific areas and locations in the second and fifth military regions, in a repeated violation of Military Agreement No. 1».

The report also mentioned the existence of construction projects «belonging to the Polisario military forces in Bir Lahlou and Tifariti», in violation of Military Agreement No. 1.

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