In a new twist in the arms wrestling between Morocco and the African Union on the Western Sahara conflict, United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has ignored a request from the African Union to circulate a letter to the members of the Security Council allowing the AU to address the Security Council during its upcoming meeting on the conflict later this month.
In addition to requesting to address the Security Council, the letter emphasizes the “need to provide MINURSO with a human rights mandate.”
Despite Algerian attempts to bring in the African Union as player in the Western Sahara conflict, it appears that the United Nations is unwilling to accept such involvement.
“I would be most grateful if you could share this letter and the accompanying communiqué and report with the President of the Security Council, to be circulated as official documents of the Council, as well as with the General Assembly. Your assistance in ensuring that AU Special Envoy Joachim Chissano is given the opportunity to address the Security Council during its April 2015 meeting on Western Sahara will also be highly appreciated,” wrote the African Union in its letter to UN chief.
Answering the journalists’ questions regarding the AU letter, General Ban Ki-moon’s spokesman Stephane Dujarric said on Tuesday that he hadn’t seen the letter. “I haven’t personally seen the letter. I’m sure it will be circulated in due time,” he said.
When asked about the same letter on Wednesday, he said that the letter was “being processed”, without giving any information on whether or not Ban Ki-moon has circulated the letter among the Security Council members.
Morocco reacted strongly to the AU’s interference in the conflict through its own letter sent to the UN chief.
In a letter sent to Ban Ki-moon on Thursday, Moroccan Minister of Foreign Affairs Salaheddine Mezouar said that Morocco “categorically” refuses any involvement of African Union in the Western Sahara issue.
Mezouar highlighted the reasons behind Morocco’s firm stance against any involvement in the Sahara issue. In this respect, he said that the political negotiation process on the Sahara issue “is exclusively conducted under the umbrella of the UN after the consecutive failures of the Organisation of the African Union in settling the dispute.”
Morocco’s Foreign Minister also criticized the AU’s lack of neutrality. The African Union openly supports other parties and launches hostile campaigns against the Kingdom, echoing the stands of Algeria and the Polisario. An illustration of the AU’s flagrant partiality is the latest decision by the AU Peace and Security Council regarding the Moroccan Sahara, deplored the Minister.