The United States government has “warmly” welcomed the appointment of Staffan de Mistura as the new special envoy of the United Nations General Secretariat in Western Sahara, almost two and a half years after the resignation of Horst Koehler and in light of the US recovery Armistice of 1991.
“De Mistura brings considerable experience to this important position as he has addressed challenges in Iraq, Lebanon and Syria,” said US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who said Washington “will actively support its efforts for a peaceful future for.” the people of Western Sahara and the region. “
“We strongly support the leadership of De Mistura in resuming the political process led by the United Nations in order to achieve a lasting and dignified solution to the conflict in Western Sahara,” Blinken added, according to a statement by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on its website.
With the appointment of the Italian-Swedish diplomat, the UN Secretary General has broken a vacuum that goes back to May 2019, when Köhler resigned for personal reasons. Since then, Guterres himself has admitted that both Rabat and the Polisario Front killed more than a dozen candidates.
De Mistura takes office without the parties having shifted an iota from their respective positions, because while Rabat only contemplates limited autonomy, the Polisario Front insists on its defense of the self-determination of the former Spanish colony.
Political tensions have also increased as a result of the fact that the United States government, led by Donald Trump, recognized Moroccan sovereignty over Western Sahara in December 2020, weeks after it was displaced by Moroccans in the Guerguerat Pass, which borders Mauritania , Clashes broke out after a blockade by activists.
Western Sahara is listed as a non-autonomous territory for the United Nations until an agreed deal – or even a referendum – has not yet arrived. The last rapprochement between the parties came from Koehler’s hand, although at that time neither the Moroccan authorities nor the Polisario Front broke away from their respective positions.
The former Spanish colony of Western Sahara was occupied by Morocco in 1975 despite resistance from the Polisario Front. The 1991 armistice was signed with a view to holding a self-determination referendum, but differences over the preparation of the census and the involvement of Moroccan settlers have so far prevented its convocation.