The resolution on Western Sahara passed unanimously on Thursday by the UN Security Council is a serious setback for the Polisario and Algeria which were expecting an expansion of the prerogatives of the MINURSO to human rights monitoring in Western Sahara.
The personal intervention of King Mohammed VI through his contacts with several heads of state in addition to the emissaries he dispatched to a number of capitals proved decisive to redress the situation. The strong mobilization of political and social forces as well as the intense diplomatic activity deployed for several days were as crucial.
These many pressures have managed to upset attempts to expand the MINURSO mandate to human rights monitoring in the Sahara. Finally, Algiers’ manoeuvres to deflect the UN-sponsored settlement process proved unsuccessful.
The Security Council members are aware of the security risks that will be posed in case human rights recorded are used as one of the aspects of the dispute, especially that terrorism in the Sahel region endangers insecurity and instability of the whole region.
But for Algeria and the Polisario this is a great consternation. Algiers, which was expecting anti-Moroccan resolution, has been directly implicated by the Security Council.
The Security Council not only calls Algiers to enhance the promotion and protection of human rights in the Tindouf camps which are located on Algerian territory, but it also urges Algiers to allow a census of the Sahrawi population in the camps, a census which Algiers has stubbornly opposed for over 20 years.
Today, Algeria and the Polisario are short of arguments. The international community will never accept the creation of a failed state in the Maghreb. That is why the resolution urges countries in the region to persevere in finding a workable solution based on negotiation and compromise.
In this vein, the Morocco-proposed autonomy plan is the only serious proposal on the table. Moreover, this plan is supported by the international community, which deems it as a credible basis for negotiations to achieve a final settlement of this regional conflict.