Sahara: The renewal of the MINURSO mandate, a victory for Morocco

The United Nations Security Council approved, this Thursday, October 27, the renewal of the mandate of the United Nations Mission for the Moroccan Sahara Referendum “MINURSO” for a new year until October 31, 2023, with 13 votes in favor of resolution 2654 (2022) and 2 abstentions, i.e. a near-unanimity considered as “a victory for Morocco”.

Presented by the United States, the penholder of the Moroccan Sahara, the draft resolution was voted in favor by 13 members of the council, including the American sponsor, Gabon, the United Arab Emirates, China, Brazil…while that Russia and Kenya chose to abstain.

We regret that the board was not unanimous in renewing this mandate today“, commented the representative of the United States in his speech after the vote, adding that “ this political solution is essential to promote a peaceful and prosperous future for the people of the Sahara and the region”.

The representative notably reiterated his country’s full support for the Moroccan autonomy plan: ” We vscontinue to consider Morocco’s autonomy plan as serious, credible and realistic and as a potential approach to meeting these aspirations“.

For Sabri Lhou, lawyer expert in international law, migration and conflict in the Sahara, “ the Security Council renewed the mandate of MINURSO for a new year, which means that Morocco holds a very heavy weight despite the consecutive demands of Algeria and other countries which support the polisario front and their numerous attempts to shorten the duration of the mandate of this mission“.

The expert asserts, in a statement to MoroccoLatestNews UK, that resolution 2654 ” is a victory for Morocco, but also a clear message for Algeria as a party to the conflict and not a mere observer, the case of Mauritania also and therefore all parties must invest and commit to finding a lasting political solution“.

Morocco’s efforts represent a realistic initiative and coincide with the equation and the directives of the United Nations, which seeks a pragmatic political solution with the consent of all parties.“, he adds.

He explains that ” the council has still not declared that the Moroccan initiative is the solution, but it is approaching this and is still seeking a compromise and the support of all parties. The vote of 13 members in favour, against 2 abstentions, is almost unanimous“.

Regarding precisely these two abstentions, the expert maintains that ” pFor Kenya, I could say that its abstention is favorable for Morocco even if it has not yet become an ally. The East African country tries to keep the balance and keep its neutrality“.

This abstention already reflects the efforts Morocco has made in recent years. At the moment, we cannot ask Kenya more than abstention“, he believes, noting that “ relations between Morocco and Kenya are already beginning to bring political gains. There is still a little effort to be made, but I believe and I am optimistic for the future of these links since Moroccan diplomacy is on the right track.“.

As for Russia, he continues, we already know that she is an ally of Algeria and she has abstained from voting since 2018, so this is not the first time“.

“Sif Russia had voted against the resolution, it could have been positioned in this way but its abstention means that the federation also wishes to remain neutral“, analyzes Me Lhou, who observes that ” Morocco has begun to reap the fruits of its dynamic diplomacy. And it’s better for us than itthose who cannot become allies, it is better that they remain neutral“.

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