The United Nations Secretary-General, António Guterres, began, on Tuesday, consultations with members of the Security Council, in order to appoint Italian-Swedish diplomat Staffan de Mistura as his Personal Envoy for the Moroccan Sahara, MAP correspondent in New York learned from diplomatic sources.
The information was confirmed to MAP by Morocco’s Permanent Representative to the UN Omar Hilale, who said that the consultations are underway and that the announcement of the appointment of Staffan de Mistura will be made in the upcoming days, after the endorsement of Security Council members.
Morocco, which has been consulted beforehand about this appointment, has informed Antonio Guterres of its approval, Hilale said, explaining that Morocco’s approval emanates from its permanent confidence and its constant support to the efforts of the UN Secretary General, in order to achieve a political, realistic, pragmatic, sustainable and compromise-based solution to the regional dispute over the Moroccan Sahara.
If appointed, Mistura can rely on Morocco’s unfailing cooperation and support to carry out his mediation for the settlement of the Sahara dispute, in accordance with the Security Council resolutions since 2007; in particular Resolutions 2440, 2468, 2494 and 2548, which have established the four-participants round table process with its modalities, he said.
Underlining that it was not easy to find a qualified candidate with an international stature to resume the political process, at a standstill since the resignation of Horst Köhler in May 2019, the Moroccan diplomat described Staffan de Mistura as a cornerstone of the UN’s efforts to settle disputes peacefully.
“He has proven his abilities in Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq and Africa. His long international experience, his Mediterranean origins which have forged his deep knowledge of this region’s issues, his understanding of North Africa’s security and destabilization threats, as well as his UN-based independence and neutrality will be of great help in facilitating the political process of this regional dispute in a serene and fruitful manner,” Omar Hilale said.
The diplomat recalled that the other parties to the dispute have, for two and a half years, used evasive tactics to reject several highly qualified candidates proposed by the UN Secretary-General for the position. Algeria and its armed separatist group rejected the candidacy of former Romanian Prime Minister Petre Roman, as well as that of former Portuguese Foreign Minister Luís Amado a few months later. In a bid to overcome their obstruction to any candidate from a third country, Mr. Guterres had to select someone from the UN.
Unlike the other parties, Morocco notified the Secretary-General of its approval to these two candidates in record time and has now approved the candidacy of Mr. de Mistura.
Meanwhile, the other parties are desperately trying to sabotage this new candidacy, notably through false pretexts relayed by the media in their pay, which hold the Secretary-General and the Security Council responsible for the lack of progress of the political process, Omar Hilale said, expressing hope that they will put an end to their delaying tactics and allow, finally, the resumption of the roundtable process, so long awaited by the Secretary-General and the Security Council.
He reaffirmed Morocco’s commitment to the United Nations’ exclusive process, in order to reach a political, realistic, pragmatic, sustainable and compromise-based solution, in accordance with the Security Council resolutions since 2007, which consider the Autonomy Plan initiative as the serious and credible solution to the Sahara issue.