The UN Security Council on Monday called on the “parties” in the conflict in Western Sahara to support “in a spirit of compromise” the efforts of the special envoy of the secretary general towards a resumption of negotiations.
In a resolution which renews for one year the mandate of the United Nations peacekeeping mission in Western Sahara (Minurso), the Council calls, as last year, “the parties to resume negotiations under the auspices of the Secretary General without preconditions and in good faith”, with the aim of achieving “a just, lasting and mutually acceptable political solution”.
Council resolution 2703 adopted on October 30, 2023, by 13 votes in favor and two abstentions (Russia and Mozambique) “supports” and “strongly welcomes the efforts” of Staffan de Mistura, and “strongly encourages Morocco, the Polisario Front, Algeria and Mauritania to engage with the Personal Envoy throughout the entire process, in a spirit of realism and compromise, with a view to bringing it to fruition.”
The adoption of the resolution comes as the Moroccan prosecutor’s office has just opened an investigation after “projectile shooting” on the night of October 28 to 29, 2023, targeting civilian neighborhoods in the city of Smara, in the south of Morocco, leaving one dead and three injured. Technical and ballistic analyzes are underway to define the exact nature and origin of the explosion.
Pending the outcome of the investigation, Morocco, a state governed by the rule of law, has so far exercised restraint and great reserve.
Nevertheless, all credible, consistent and convincing indicators point the finger to the Polisario as being primarily responsible for this act. The armed militia has engaged in armed hostilities against Moroccan territory, openly announcing its unilateral withdrawal from the UN-sponsored ceasefire of September 1991.
Polisario formally claimed responsibility for the attack. In its war communiqué no. 901, it claimed to have carried out armed attacks against Smara, boasting of having caused casualties. The Polisario representative supported the content of this press release within the UN headquarters, describing it as part of the armed militia’s “struggle”.
The Polisario’s claim of responsibility for these attacks, which made international headlines, was never refuted by the armed militia.
These attacks have targeted civilian neighborhoods, home to family residences, where there are no military or strategic installations. They jeopardize regional peace and security, considered a red line by Morocco.
These provocations, which occurred on the eve of the Security Council’s adoption of its resolution on the Sahara, were aimed at diverting attention and exerting pressure on the Security Council.
In the face of this situation, Morocco has remained serene, allowing itself to be neither impressed nor trapped by these ill-considered provocations. The Moroccan authorities are determined to see the investigations through to the end, until those responsible are established and the law is applied in its implacable rigor.