The UN reaffirms that De Mistura will not visit Western Sahara on his way through Morocco

The UN reaffirms that De Mistura will not visit Western Sahara on his way through Morocco

July 4. (EUROPA PRESS) –

Stéphane Dujarric, the spokesman for the Secretary General of the United Nations, António Guterres, reported this Monday that the special envoy for Western Sahara, Staffan de Mistura, will not visit this region on the occasion of his trip to Morocco this week.

De Mistura “is in Rabat to meet with Moroccan officials” and “has decided not to continue with a visit to Western Sahara during this trip, but hopes to do so during his next visits to the region,” he said.

The decision has been received with regret by the Polisario Front, which “deeply deplores that the obstructionism of the occupying State of Morocco” has prevented De Mistura from visiting the territory,” the movement’s representative to the United Nations, Sidi Omar, wrote on Twitter. .

Lastly, in the brief statement offered by the United Nations, Dujarric emphasized that De Mistura’s visits “are intended to constructively advance the political process on Western Sahara.”

Unlike other occasions, this trip is not part of a tour of the region but focuses solely on Morocco. De Mistura will meet, among others, with the Moroccan Foreign Minister, Nasser Bourita, and will visit the capital of the former Spanish province, El Aaiún.

The objective is to initiate a new dialogue process with a view to achieving a political and negotiated solution to the conflict, a trip that was initially planned for May, but was delayed. De Mistura had also recently suspended his activities after contracting the COVID-19 virus.

Staffan de Mistura was appointed to the position in November 2021. He then made his first tour of the region with stops in Morocco, Mauritania, Algeria and Tindouf, in southwestern Algeria, where the Saharawi refugees who fled from the area after the Moroccan invasion.

The former Spanish colony of Western Sahara was occupied by Morocco in 1975 despite resistance from the Polisario Front. The 1991 ceasefire was signed with a view to holding a self-determination referendum, but differences over the preparation of the census and the inclusion or not of Moroccan settlers have so far prevented it from being called.

In addition, the Polisario has considered the 1992 ceasefire broken after the eviction of Saharawi activists from the Guerguerat border crossing with Mauritania by Moroccan military forces in November 2020. Rabat considers the area between the post and the border with Mauritania as ‘ no man’s land’, while the Polisario Front considers it its own territory.

The latest twist in the dispute is the explicit support of the Spanish Government for the autonomy plan proposed by Morocco for consultation between the Saharawi and Moroccan populations living in the territory.

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