-The question of Sahara before the 59th session of the General Assembly
During the general debate of the United Nations 59th General Assembly Session, His Majesty King Mohammed VI made an important speech in which His Majesty tackled many current events, among which the question of the Kingdom's territorial integrity. Hence, the King reiterated Morocco's commitment to achieve a final and mutually acceptable political solution, in the framework of international legality, a solution that guarantees the sovereignty, national unity and the territorial integrity of the Kingdom, thus allowing South provinces' inhabitants to manage their regional affairs, within a democratic environment, stable and propitious to integrated development.
In other respects, and as a result of a new diplomatic campaign developed by the other parties, that runs the risk of postponing, if not blocking the advent of a final and mutually accepted, negotiated political solution, Morocco sent, on September 24th, a memorandum to the UN Secretary General, M. Kofi Annan, in order to clarify its position, and in particular its irreversible commitment in favor of a political solution.
Since the 43rd session of the General Assembly (1988), the successive fourth Committee resolutions that have always made the consensus prevails concerning the national issue were always been adopted without vote.
During that session, and from the beginning of the examination of this point, the concerned delegations, Morocco and Algeria, agreed to work together to reach a consensus, by limiting themselves to updating resolution A/58/109 adopted by the General Assembly in 2003, and to include within this resolution the latest developments recorded since that time.
These developments are related to the response of Morocco which appears in the Secretary General report S/2004/325 (April 24th 2004), the contribution of resolution 1541 adopted by the Security Council on April 29th 2004 and the new mandate given to M. Alvaro De Soto, Special representative of the UN Secretary General, following the resignation of M. James Baker, in order to carry on the commitments to find out a final, political and acceptable solution for all the parties.
Contrary to the previous years, where the most arduous negotiations witnessed a consensual outcome, the Algerian delegation maintained a fixed position refusing that any kind of mention to the political mandate of the Special representative of the Secretary General be made in the draft resolution negotiated under the aegis of the Fourth Committee President.
Despite all the mediations and proposals intended to preserve the consensus, the intransigent attitude of Algeria led to the introduction - by Algeria - of a draft resolution bereft of any reference concerning the role and efforts of the Special Representative in the search of a mutually political acceptable solution.
On October the 18th 2004, noticing the absence of consensus, the President proceeded to the vote on the Algerian draft A/C.4/53/L.4.
It is significant that among the 191 UN members, only 52 states voted in favor of the Algerian draft, whereas 89 states abstained and 50 did not attend the vote.
Morocco abstained during this vote and in his explanation prior to the vote, the Ambassador, Permanent Representative of the Kingdom of Morocco stated: "in abstaining to vote on the draft presented by Algeria, the members of this Commission will demonstrate their support to the Secretary General and to his Special representative M. De Soto, in their commitments for a negotiated and mutually acceptable political settlement". (see explanation of vote of H.E . Mohamed Bennouna, Ambassador, Permanent Representative of the Kingdom of Morocco, in front of the 4th Committee).
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation issued the following communiqué related to the vote of the 4th Committee concerning the Sahara question.
In its turn, on December the 10th 2004, the General Assembly proceeded to the vote on the Algerian draft on the Sahara (A/C.4/59/L.1), which gathered this time only 49 voices in favor, whereas the number of abstentions reached 101. This massive abstention on the part of the member states confirms that it is a matter of a bilateral Moroccan Algerian dispute which can be solved solely through a negotiated political solution, under the aegis of the Secretary General and his Special representative M. Alvaro De Soto. At the end of the adoption of resolution A/ RES/ 59/131, the Permanent Representative of Morocco explained the meaning of the vote in a declaration to the MAP.