United Nations: The UN Security Council has renewed the mandate of the UN Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO) for 12 months.
In Resolution 2548, the 15-member council extended MINURSO’s mandate till Oct. 31, 2021.
The resolution emphasized the need to achieve “a realistic, practicable and enduring political solution” to the question of Western Sahara based on compromise and the importance of aligning the strategic focus of MINURSO and orienting resources of the United Nations to this end.
The council expressed its full support for the on-going efforts of the secretary-general and his incoming personal envoy to sustain the renewed negotiations process in order to achieve a solution to the Western Sahara question.
The council called upon the parties to resume negotiations under the auspices of the secretary-general without preconditions and in good faith, taking into account the efforts made since 2006 and subsequent developments with a view to achieving a just, lasting, and mutually acceptable political solution, which will provide for the self-determination of the people of Western Sahara in the context of arrangements consistent with the principles and purposes of the Charter of the United Nations, and noting the role and responsibilities of the parties in this respect.
Western Sahara was partitioned between Morocco and Mauritania at the end of Spain’s colonial rule in 1976. When Mauritania, under pressure from Polisario guerrillas, abandoned all claims to its portion in August 1979, Morocco moved to occupy that sector and has since asserted administrative control over the whole territory. Fighting broke out between Morocco and the Polisario Front, which is fighting for the independence of Western Sahara.
A ceasefire was signed in 1991. MINURSO was deployed that year to monitor the ceasefire and to organize, if possible, a referendum on self-determination of the people of Western Sahara.