UN for SADR-Morocco direct, unconditional negotiations

New York, March 31, 2018 (SPS) -United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres reiterated the position of the United Nations (UN) in favour of direct and unconditional negotiations between the Polisario Front and Morocco to settle the Western Sahara conflict.

"In its resolutions since the beginning of 2007, the Security Council has enjoined me to facilitate direct negotiations between the parties to the conflict, which must take place without preconditions and in good faith," the UN chief said in a report on Western Sahara, of which APS obtained a copy.

Guterres said the two parties to the conflict must "show political will (...) and work under compromise" to prepare for a fifth round of negotiations.

In this connection, the UN chief recalled the approach he proposed in his first report on Western Sahara in 2017 to reopen the process of negotiations “under the guidelines of the Security Council, with a view to reaching a just, lasting and mutually acceptable solution that leads the self-determination of the people of Western Sahara."

"The Security Council affirmed in its resolution 2351 (2017) its full support for this proposal," said the same official.

In his second report on Western Sahara, the UN chief underscored "the determination" of the Polisario Front, reiterated in last January by President Brahim Ghali, to "engage in unconditional negotiations and fully cooperate with the UN Secretary General and his personal envoy."

In contrast, Morocco, which has been blocking the UN process since 2012, rejects any negotiation that is not part of its autonomy plan. According to Guterres, Morocco stands on this position and reiterated it to his Personal envoy Horst Kohler during his visit to Rabat.

The UN Secretary General said he was "encouraged by the steps taken by Kohler since his appointment to relaunch the political process.” (SPS)