What's In Blue

Posted Tue 19 Jul 2011

Western Sahara Talks

Today (19 July), parties to the Western Sahara conflict will meet for a further session of informal talks in Greentree, New York in the series initiated in 2009 following Security Council resolution 1891.

The Secretary-General’s personal envoy for Western Sahara, Christopher Ross will convene the talks. This will be the eighth round in this series of informal talks between Morocco and the Polisario Front, with neighbouring states Algeria and Mauritania also attending. Following recent practice, Ross may issue a communiqué following the talks.

It seems discussions will again focus on the parties respective proposals on a settlement, including the issue of mechanisms for self-determination. They are also likely to discuss the Secretary-General’s most recent report on the situation in Western Sahara (S/2011/249). Confidence-building measures, demining and natural resources may also be discussed.

The last round of talks in early June in New York covered electoral mechanisms for self-determination as well as natural resources and demining. However, in the communiqué which followed the talks, Ross stated that “each party continued to reject the proposal of the other as a sole basis for future negotiations”.

The Council’s next meeting on Western Sahara is scheduled for November. By then the election of non-permanent members to the Security Council will have taken place and either Morocco or Mauritania, who are competing for the North African seat on the Council, may be attending Council meetings in preparation for being on the Council in 2012 – 2013. This could add an interesting dimension to the issue.

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