Guterres appoints the Bangladeshi Fajrul Ahsan as the new commander of the MINURSO Force

Guterres appoints the Bangladeshi Fajrul Ahsan as the new commander of the MINURSO Force

March 17 (EUROPA PRESS) –

The Secretary General of the United Nations, António Guterres, has announced the appointment of the Bangladeshi Fajrul Ahsan as Force Commander of the UN Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO), at a time of tensions after the end of the ceasefire on fire in 2020.

Ahsan replaces the Pakistani Zia ur Rehman, who ended his term in March 2022. Guterres has thanked Ur Rehman for his “exemplary service and leadership in MINURSO,” according to a statement from the international organization.

The UN has highlighted that Ahsan has more than 34 years of experience in military leadership positions at the national and international levels, having previously served in two United Nations peacekeeping missions in Somalia and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

The UN Security Council approved in October 2022 the extension of the MINURSO mandate until October 31, 2023, amid the absence of contacts to move towards peace due to Morocco’s insistence on its autonomy plan, rejected by the Polisario Front.

The former Spanish colony was occupied despite the resistance of the Polisario Front, with whom it remained at war until 1991, when both parties signed a ceasefire with a view to holding a referendum on self-determination, but differences over the preparation of the census and the inclusion or not of Moroccan settlers has so far prevented its call.

On November 14, 2020, the Polisario Front declared the ceasefire with Morocco broken in response to a Moroccan military action against Saharawi activists in Guerguerat, in the agreed demilitarized zone, which meant for the Saharawis a violation of the conditions of the Stop the fire.

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