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MINURSO mandate extended, rights proposal buried

May 1, 2009

UPDATE:UN press release, incl. full text of resolution and Council member statements, here.

The UN Security Council just passed its resolution on the mandate of MINURSO, Western Sahara’s peacekeeping mission, granting it a routine extension for a full year. There was little political input, but three points merit mention:

1. According to the Washington Post, the USA did not, as has been public ritual under the last years of the Bush admin, bring up and specifically endorse Morocco’s autonomy plan. France of course did, but was now alone in doing so. This might have been just a random omission, but a curious one still.

2. The Council did not include a human rights component in MINURSO’s mandate, which Morocco opposes (see MPR & Huffington Post). It did add vague language noting “the importance of making progress on the human dimension of the conflict,” but that means nothing. Even so, again according to the Washington Post, “France initially resisted the word ‘human,’ preferring ‘humanitarian.'” (Me, I’m resisting the use of another word.)

3. Finally, the Council endorsed Special Envoy Christopher Ross’s suggestion for informal meetings before proceeding to round five in the official Manhasset negotiations. Both parties had already agreed, even if POLISARIO has said they don’t really see the point (they want spotlight time, not negotiations). The idea of such meetings  is to build negotiator confidence and try to get real talks going, since the previous four rounds were made up of nothing but good wine and uncomfortable silences.

The UN-watchers at Inner City Press were, as usual, on the scene, and had a short chat with Ross in which he diplomatically avoided saying anything at all. ICP also suggests that France’s position on Western Sahara may have been used as a bargaining chip to secure another proposal on Sudan. That’s about it. If you’re interested in the dreary spectacle of both sides celebrating this clinically content-free resolution as an outstanding victory for their own side of the war, here are links to SPS and MAP, knock yourself out.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Laroussi permalink
    May 2, 2009 17:18

    “France blocks the human rights dossier in Western Sahara” (La France bloque le dossier des droits de l’homme au Sahara occidental), writes
    Le Monde

    France largest daily Le Monde criticizes the French pro-Moroccan policy and writes that Western Sahara is “occupied by Morocco” (occupée par le Maroc)!!! Bravo!!!🙂

  2. Laroussi permalink
    May 3, 2009 11:28

    And here is the Spanish version from El País of the same event.

    The French ambassador to the UN, Jean-Maurice Ripert, was the only one to oppose the joint proposal from Costa Rica and Uganda to give MINURSO a human rights component.

    France is becoming more and more isolated in the UN’s Security Council in its unconditional support for the Moroccan occupation, it seems.

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