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Thursday, September 21, 2023
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Secretary General Ban Ki-moon urged an "urgent resolution" of the Sahara issue because of "the rise of instability and insecurity" in the Sahel region and called for opening borders between Morocco and Algeria in the interest of the region and the international community.


"The rise of instability and insecurity in and around the Sahel region requires urgent resolution of this protracted conflict," said the Secretary General in his latest report on the Sahara released Monday afternoon in New York.

In this report, the Secretary-General expressed his "great concern" about the safety of MINURSO staff, noting that "operations underway in northern Mali, may threaten the long-term" region.

He has, in this context, explained the "continuation of the suspension of night patrols" as exposed to major risks mainly because of "possible infiltration of armed elements and gaps in coordination at regional security. "

The UN head mentioned the kidnapping in Tindouf camps of three European humanitarian aid workers in October 2011 and the calling back of 17 aid workers operating in the camps.
 
"All consulted governments" during the visit of his Personal Envoy, Christopher Ross, in the region have expressed "serious concerns about the risk posed by the ongoing fighting in Mali on the region and their contribution to the radicalization of populations camps ", he said.
 
"The time has come for the parties to move forward towards a solution supported and encouraged by the international community," pleaded Ban Ki-moon, calling on "the parties to engage in meaningful negotiations" to end this conflict that has lasted too long.

However, he lamented, during the reported period, problems continued to hamper progress towards a lasting political solution, fair and mutually acceptable, regretting the absence of "advance on matter’s core," each party sticking to "its respective position."

"The persistence of this conflict is an obstacle to the integration of the Maghreb, which is now more necessary than ever to face the common challenges of instability and insecurity in the region," he added .

He likewise stressed that his personal envoy continues to encourage the "development of relations between Morocco and Algeria," urging both parties (Morocco and Algeria) "to redouble their efforts to take advantage of better relations and open borders in the interest of the region and the international community as a whole. "

Christopher Ross will redouble efforts "to encourage Algeria and Morocco to further develop their bilateral relations on the basis of ministerial visits and priority areas previously identified by HM King Mohammed VI and President Bouteflika."

He insisted on the "critical" importance to address the Sahara issue in the context of a broader strategy for the Sahel, arguing that the conflict is "primarily a North African conflict."

Therefore, for Ban Ki-moon, a "regional integration", through the strengthening of UMA, is a "key element" to "overcome the current instability and flourish at the economic, business and social levels.

He said he is "confident that progress in this area will help to improve trust between the parties and create the conditions for" a solution to the Sahara issue.

Regarding the census, he stressed that "on the basis of the recommendations contained in my report April 5 and the last Security Council resolution 2044 asking the UNHCR to maintain the registration of refugees in the camps, in line with its mandate and principles, the High Commission continues its dialogue with the host country ", namely Algeria, as stipulated in resolution 2044 (2012).

Addressing the issue of human rights, he referred to the royal speech November 6, 2012 in which King Mohammed VI called for "a strong involvement of the international community to end the tragedy endured by our children in Tindouf on Algerian territory, where cruelty, repression, coercion, deprivation and despair, in flagrant violation of the most basic human rights exist. "

Ban Ki-moon noted, in this sense, "Morocco's cooperation with the special procedures" of the Human Rights Council (HRC) and said he was "encouraged" by the recent recommendations of the National Council for Human Rights "endorsed" by the Kingdom.

HM the King welcomed the spirit of the approach and content of the thematic reports submitted to the high appreciation of His Majesty by the National Council for Human Rights.

In this regard, Ban Ki-moon has called "positive development" the creation of the CNDH and its regional offices and stressed that the Moroccan authorities made "easy access" to UN special procedures.

In the same vein, Ban Ki-moon acknowledged "Morocco's efforts to improve social conditions" in the Sahara region and noted "the new regional development strategy" undertaken by the Kingdom in the southern provinces.

The model of regional development by the Economic, Social and Environmental Council (EESC) "aims to enable the local population enjoy full rights economically, socially and culturally and prepare for the success of the Moroccan autonomy initiative, once negotiated within the UN. "

Referring to the confidence measures, he welcomed the extension of exchange program during which tripled the number of beneficiaries. He likewise welcomed the holding of seminars on culture.

Concerning another issue, he noted praised progress in demining.

In conclusion, the Secretary-General recommended the Security Council to extend for 12 months MINURSO mandate.

The Sahara conflict called "Western Sahara issue" is an artificial conflict imposed by Algeria to Morocco. Polisario separatist movement supported by the Algerian government claims the creation of an artificial state in the Maghreb.

This situation hampers all efforts by the international community for a solution to the conflict based on autonomy within a sovereign Morocco and regional economic and security integration.

- News and events on Western Sahara issue / Corcas -

 

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