Morocco gives its consent to the Secretary-General of the United Nations for the appointment of his Personal Envoy for Moroccan Sahara, Staffan De Mistura

The Maghreb news agency has gathered from diplomatic sources that UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres began discussions with members of the Security Council on the nomination of Italian-Swedish Staffan de Mistura as his Personal Envoy for Moroccan Sahara on Tuesday.

The Maghreb News Agency called Mr. Omar Hilale, Morocco’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, to confirm this information, and he graciously answered its inquiries.

1- According to UN diplomatic sources, the Secretary-General initiated discussions with Security Council members last Tuesday with the goal of selecting Mr. Staffan de Mistura as his new Personal Envoy for Moroccan Sahara. Can you vouch for this?

Indeed, these discussions are underway, and Mr. Staffan de Mistura’s nomination will be announced in the coming days, pending the approval of the Security Council members.

2- Has Morocco given its consent to this appointment?

Of course, Morocco was contacted ahead of time about this appointment, and Mr. Antonio Guterres was notified of the arrangement. Morocco’s commitment is based on the country’s ongoing faith in and support for UN Secretary-General efforts to find a realistic, practical, long-term, and cohesive political solution to the Moroccan Sahara conflict.

Once appointed, as we hope, Mr. De Mistura can count on Morocco’s cooperation and unwavering support in the implementation of his mission to facilitate a settlement of this regional dispute, in accordance with Security Council resolutions since 2007, in particular resolutions 2440, 2468, 2494 and 2548, which devoted the round-table series to the four parties involved and in accordance with the established criteria.

3- The Security Council’s deliberations on the appointment of a successor to the former envoy, President Kohler, comes 30 months after the latter’s resignation – why has it taken so long?

First, the Secretary-General needed to identify a suitable foreign candidate to restart the political process from where it stalled with Mr. Kohler.

That is not an easy task. Mr. De Mistura is a prominent figure in the United Nations’ attempts to resolve conflicts peacefully. In Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq, and Africa, it has proven its worth. His extensive international diplomatic experience, as well as his Mediterranean roots, which have informed his in-depth knowledge of the region’s problems, his understanding of security threats and instability in North Africa, and, of course, his work at the United Nations, will greatly assist him in tackling the task of faking it in a calm and constructive manner.

Second, and more importantly, the other parties have been using flimsy peculiarities to reject the many extremely competent individuals offered by the Secretary-General for the past two and a half years. Former Romanian Prime Minister Peter Roman’s candidacy was rejected by Algeria and its armed separatist organization, as was the candidacy of former Portuguese Foreign Minister Luis Amado a few months later. As a result, in order to prevent them from obstructing any candidate from a third country, Mr. Guterres had to seek for the latter through the United Nations’ channels.

Saudi Arabia, for its part, had notified the Secretary-General in record speed that it had approved those nominees. I also accepted Mr. De Mistura’s candidacy, as I previously stated. This nomination, which the other parties are attempting in vain to stymie, notably through bogus media explanations accusing the Secretary-General and the Security Council of responsibility for the lack of a political process.

We strongly hope that they would abandon their foolish maneuverings and enable the Secretary-General and the Security Council to resume their long-awaited round-table series.

4- What does Morocco expect from the political process now that Mr. De Mistura has been appointed?

Morocco remains firmly bound by the exclusive United Nations series in order to find a political, realistic, practical, lasting, and consensual solution to the conflict over Moroccan Sahara, regardless of the personality of the Personal Envoy, in accordance with Security Council resolutions since 2007, which consider the initiative to be a serious and credible solution to the question.

In this regard, the Kingdom of Morocco formally reaffirmed, in the presence of the two Algerian ministers, Sahel and Amra, during the two previous round tables in Geneva, that the solution to the Moroccan Sahara dispute would be only self-government, nothing else, and only autonomy within the framework of Morocco’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.

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