Econostrum | Economic News in the Mediterranean

Guterres calls for "once and for all resolution of the Western Sahara conflict"

Written by Eric Apim on Tuesday, January 25th 2022 à 16:20 | Read 370 times

For Guterres, "the world is too small for so many hot spots" (photo: Onu/Eskinder Debebe)
For Guterres, "the world is too small for so many hot spots" (photo: Onu/Eskinder Debebe)
MAGHREB. Along with halting the spread of Covid-19, reforming global finance, strengthening measures to limit the climate crisis and developing regulatory frameworks for technology, conflict resolution is one of the UN's five priorities for 2022. In setting them out on Friday 21 January 2022 at the institution's General Assembly in New York, Guterres insisted: "This is not the time to simply list and lament the challenges. Now is the time to act. All these challenges are, at their core, failures of global governance."

On the last point, the UN Secretary General, makes a heavy statement. "We are facing the highest number of violent conflicts since 1945. Military coups are back. Impunity is taking hold (...) Human rights and the rule of law are under attack," he said.

Guterres said he was "committed to doing everything in our power to mobilise the international community and intensify our efforts for peace", citing Afghanistan, Colombia, Ethiopia, Haiti, Iran, Israel-Palestine, Libya, Mali, Myanmar, the Sahel, Sudan, Syria, Ukraine and Yemen. "This world is too small for so many hot spots. We need a united Security Council, fully committed to solving them. Geopolitical divides must be managed to avoid chaos in the world," he says.

"Seeking a solution and not maintaining an endless process"

Answering a question on the action of Staffan de Mistura, his personal envoy for the Western Sahara, who has just completed a tour of Morocco, Algeria and Mauritania on 19 January 2022, the UN secretary-general called "for dialogue" between Morocco and the Polisario Front. "In a region of the world where we see extremely serious security problems, where we see terrorism multiplying in the Sahel and increasingly near the coasts, it is in the interest of all to resolve once and for all this problem of the Western Sahara," he added, adding, "I am hopeful that the political process will resume once again."

The issue of the status of Western Sahara has been pending for 42 years. The talks have been at a standstill since spring 2019. Since 1963, the UN has added its 266,000 km² to its list of "non-self-governing territories". Morocco controls 80% of it and the Polisario Front the remaining 20%.

"It is time for the parties to understand the need for dialogue, to seek a solution and not just to maintain an endless process, without hope of resolution," Guterres said.

Read also our special report on Western Sahara in three parts

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