UNSC extends Minurso mandate for six months

United Nations, Nov 01, , 2018 (SPS) .- The UN Security Council extended for six months the mandate of the United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (Minurso), as presented by the United States,  in order to continue pressing the parties to negotiate directly and without conditions to find a solution to the conflict.

With twelve votes in favor and three abstentions, the United Nations Security Council gave its approval to a proposal by the United States, which was discussed until the last moment, given that countries like France preferred a one-year term.

Last April the United States, also presented a request for the mandate to be renewed for only six months in order to put pressure on Morocco and the Frente POLISARIO to sit at the negotiating table after years of blockade.

For Washington, that approach has been successful and has facilitated the two parties have agreed to meet next December in Geneva at a meeting organized by the UN mediator, Horst Köhler.

The US Deputy Ambassador before the UN, Jonathan Cohen, said today that his country is satisfied with these developments, but considers that they are only a beginning.

"The political process is only beginning," Cohen said after the vote, arguing that the six-month extension will allow the Security Council to closely monitor the issue and make clear its "determination to accelerate" the discussions to resolve the conflict.

For its part, the POLISARIO was in favor of a shorter mandate for the Security Council to continue pressing Morocco to negotiate, according to the statement made to reporters by  the Frente POLISARIO representative to the UN, Dr. Mohamed Sidi Omar. SPS