Global perspective Human stories

Security Council members agree to extend mandate of UN mission in Western Sahara

Security Council members agree to extend mandate of UN mission in Western Sahara

Amb. Jean-Marc de La Sablière
Stressing that the responsibility for a solution to the situation in Western Sahara rested solely with the parties, the members of the United Nations Security Council today said they agreed to extend the mandate of the UN mission there to give the parties time to consider the proposal presented to them recently by the Secretary-General’s Personal Envoy, James A. Baker III.

The current President of the Council, Ambassador Jean-Marc de La Sablière of France, said in a press statement that members welcomed the Secretary-General’s report of 16 January concerning Western Sahara and agreed with his observation that the responsibility for a solution rested solely with the parties.

Members recalled the need to release without further delay all remaining prisoners of war in compliance with international humanitarian law and urged full compliance, as established under a Council resolution, Ambassador de La Sablière said.

They also recalled that that same resolution called upon Morocco and the Frente POLISARIO to continue to cooperate with the efforts of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to resolve the problem of the fate of all those unaccounted for since the beginning of the conflict, he added.

“Council members also expressed concern that despite the tireless efforts of the Secretary-General’s Special Representative and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), confidence-building measures remained stalled and called on the parties to make the necessary compromises to allow person-to-person contact between Saharans on both sides of the berm,” Ambassador de La Sablière said.

Council members joined the Secretary-General in his appeal to donors to provide the necessary resources to WFP and UNHCR to cover the refugee food requirements, the Council President said.

The mandate of the UN Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO) is set to expire on 31 January.