Former German president Koehler officially, new UN envoy for Western Sahara

New York (United Nations), August 19, 2017 (SPS)  – Former German president Horst Koehler has been officially named as new UN envoy for Western Sahara, with the mission of reviving talks between Morocco and Polisario Front Polisario, the UN said in a communiqué.

The choice of Horst Koehler, 74, was announced early June by the UN. He replaces American Christopher Ross, who had resigned in April over years of tensions between the UN and Morocco over this territory, occupied for more than 40 years by Morocco.

Economist and former banker, Koehler served as president of Germany from 2004 to 2010 after heading the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and chairing the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD).

The Security Council adopted in April a resolution urging Morocco and the Polisario Front to resume negotiations, which have deadlocked since 2012.

Since 1966, Western Sahara has been included on the list of Non-Self-Governing Territories, therefore eligible for the implementation of UN General Assembly Resolution 1514 on Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples.

It is the Last colony in Africa, occupied since 1975 by Morocco, supported by France.

Several UN-brokered rounds of negotiations between the parties to the conflicts (Polisario/ Morocco) were organized on the organization of a self-determination referendum for the Sahrawi people. (SPS)