It is "a problem that has lasted so many decades," Guterres said at a press conference held on Friday in New York. "It is time for the parties to understand the need for a dialogue, seeking a solution to the [Sahara] issue."
The UN Chief also said that "it is in the interest of all to resolve once and for all" this dispute in view of the challenges facing the region.
This problem is happening "in an area of the world where we see extremely serious security problems, where we see terrorism growing in the Sahel and getting increasingly closer to the coast," he added.
In light of these challenges, the dialogue must lead to a solution, rather than "maintaining an endless process with no hope of resolution," said Guterres.
Guterres' call comes at a time when his Personal Envoy for the Moroccan Sahara, Staffan de Mistura, completed a visit to the region, as part of the implementation of Security Council Resolution 2602, adopted on October 29, 2021.
In this resolution, the UN Executive Body reiterated its call to the parties, namely Morocco, Algeria, Mauritania and the polisario, to resume the process of round tables, in a spirit of realism and compromise, to achieve a realistic, pragmatic, sustainable and compromise-based political solution.