Staffan de Mistura receives popular welcome in wilaya of Smara

Smara (Sahrawi refugee camps) - The Personal Envoy of the UN Secretary General for Western Sahara, Staffan de Mistura, began Saturday his visit to the Sahrawi refugee camps from the wilaya of Smara, the second stage of his first tour in the region since his appointment last November.

After the popular welcome he received in the wilaya of Smara, Mr. De Mistura was received by the governor of the wilaya, Ms. Mariam Salek Ahmada, as well as members of the People's Assembly of wilaya and members of the Office of the Advisory Council.

On this first day of his visit to the Sahrawi refugee camps, the UN SG's Envoy visited the specialized school (autism), the center for people with special needs, as well as the regional hospital, then he headed to the wilaya of Shahid Al Hafed, where he met with the Sahrawi Prime Minister, Boushraya Bayoun, the Minister at the Presidency in charge of the reserve paramilitaries, Mohamed Lamine Ould Al Bouhali, and the Minister Counsellor at the Presidency in charge of political affairs, Bashir Mustapha, as well as a group of young people and Sahrawi women to learn about their demands.

On the program of the first day of his visit, preliminary talks will be held between the UN delegation on the one hand, and the head of the Sahrawi delegation, head of the Secretariat of the Political Organization, Khatri Addouh, accompanied by the Chief of Staff of the Sahrawi People's Liberation Army (SPLA), Mohamed Al Ouali Akik, the Sahrawi Minister of Cooperation, Fatma Al mehdi, the Representative of the Polisario Front at the United Nations, Sidi Mohammed Omar, and the adviser to the Presidency, Abdati Abrika.

On the second day of the visit, the UN Envoy will visit several Sahrawi structures and institutions including the school of the Shahid "Khalil Sid M'hamed" in Boudjdour, the National Museum of the Resistance, the Digital Documentation Center, the Sahrawi Red Crescent and the Sahrawi Human Rights Committee.

After his meeting with the Minister of Interior, Omar Mansour, and the Minister of Affairs of the Occupied Territories and Communities, Mustapha Sidi Al-Bachir, as well as the President of the Sahrawi National Council, Hamma Salama, Mr. de Mistura will conclude his visit to the Sahrawi refugee camps with official talks with the President of the Republic, the Secretary General of the Polisario Front, Mr. Brahim Ghali.

During this first tour in the region, De Mistura intends to examine ways to relaunch the political process in Western Sahara.

The mission of the UN Secretary-General's Personal Envoy for Western Sahara to the region remains difficult and complex, due to Moroccan procrastination and maneuvering to prevent finding a solution for Africa's last colony, ending its occupation and granting the Sahrawis their right to self-determination.

Among the difficulties faced by Staffan de Mistura is the particular situation in which his visit to the region takes place, which is marked by a return to war, after the violation of the ceasefire agreement by Morocco, following the aggression against defenseless Sahrawi civilians in the illegal breach of El Guerguerat, on November 13, 2020.