"We have welcomed Morocco's credible efforts," the United Nations Security Council President, Great Britain's ambassador, Emyr Jones Parry told the press following the UNSC adoption of this resolution on Monday.
"What we want to see now are direct negotiations" between the parties, he said, underlining that besides extending the mandate of the United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (known by its French acronym MINURSO), the Council aspires "through the resolution language to encourage the parties enter into negotiations."
Echoing him, US ambassador to the UNSC, Zalamy Khalilzad, said that in its resolution, the Council noted Morocco’s "credible and serious efforts" to overcome the current deadlock.
France's ambassador to the UN, Jean-Marc de La Sablière, said his country welcomes the new resolution as an "important, balanced and agreed upon text," voicing hope to see "the parties concerned engage negotiations in good faith and without preconditions as soon as possible."
In Spain, President of the Spanish government, José Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, welcomed the UNSC resolution that “fully tallies” with Spain’s stance both in favorably welcoming the Moroccan autonomy initiative as well as calling upon the parties to engage negotiation in a bid to settle the dispute through dialog.
In a communiqué of the Spanish government presidency, Madrid noted that the UNSC resolution could constitute “a new evolution in the UN attempts to settle the conflict.”
In its resolution, the Council “reiterated its call “upon the parties and States of the region to continue to cooperate fully with the United Nations and with each other to end the current impasse and to achieve progress towards a political solution.” It also calls upon the parties to enter into negotiations “without preconditions in good faith,” with a view to achieving a just, lasting and mutually acceptable political solutions.
In its Monday’s resolution, the UN governing body also decided to extend the mandate of the MINURSO until 31 October 2007. The blue helmets have been deployed in the Sahara since 1991 to monitor the ceasefire concluded between the two warring parties.
Morocco had on April 11 presented a draft plan to grant substantial autonomy to its Southern Provinces known as the Sahara. The former Spanish colony was ceded by Spain to Morocco in 1975 under the Madrid Accords. The Polisario, backed by Algeria, claims the independence of the territory.