The moroccan press
Moroccan Trade unions participating in global celebrations of International Labor Day called, Monday in Casablanca, for the institutionalization of social dialogue and preservation of working-class gains.
The African Union Commission (AUC) commended the unanimous adoption by the UN Security Council (UNSC) of resolution 2351 (2017) on the Sahara, which extended by one year the MINURSO mandate.
"Chairman of the African Union Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat, welcomes the unanimous adoption by UN Security Council members of resolution 2351 (2017), which extended the mandate of the MINURSO until April 30, 2018," said the Commission in a statement, issued Sunday in Addis Ababa.
The government is determined to continue consultations and dialogue with all the social partners, said Sunday minister of Employment and Vocational Integration, Mohamed Yatim.
In an address to the working class on the eve of the celebration of May 1 Labor Day, Yatim noted that social dialogue was and remains an essential pillar to improve professional relations and establish social peace within the various production units, and constitutes an important tool to revitalize economic life and foster a climate conducive to investment and production development.
Communiqué: Morocco Notes with Satisfaction the Adoption of Resolution 2351 by UNSC on the Moroccan Sahara Issue
From the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation on April 29, 2017:
Morocco notes with satisfaction the unanimous adoption by the UN Security Council (UNSC), on April 28th, of resolution 2351 (2017) on the issue of the Moroccan Sahara.
This resolution extends the mandate of the MINURSO for one year, within the strict framework of its current activities.
The resolution converges on several points with the assessments and recommendations of the UN Secretary-General, contained in his latest report to the Security Council (S/2017/307).
The Council clearly reaffirms the parameters of the political process as defined since 2007. This process should be guided by “realism and a spirit of compromise”, take into consideration the efforts made by Morocco since 2006, and take into account the pre-eminence of the Moroccan autonomy initiative.
The UN body also hails once again the “serious and credible” efforts that have led to the formulation of the autonomy plan.
The resolution also reiterates the regional dimension of the artificial dispute over the Moroccan Sahara, and specifies the responsibility of neighboring countries, particularly Algeria.
Therefore, the Security Council joins the Secretary General’s appeal, stressing that “Algeria and Mauritania can and should lend an important support for this process”.
The responsibility of Algeria is also confirmed in relation to the census of the populations of the Tindouf camps. Indeed, the Council, and for the 6th consecutive year, recalls the importance of the census and -new this year- “insists that efforts should be made in this regard.”
Morocco hopes that the other parties will actively and constructively get involved in order to put an end to this regional dispute, as part of these parameters, precisely defined by the Security Council and in the light of their clearly identified responsibilities.
Morocco also hopes that the conditions for a real revival of the process will be met.
In this context, Morocco reiterates its commitment to work towards a definitive solution, within the framework of the autonomy initiative.
By Patrick Markey and Samia Errazzouki
The United Nations Security Council unanimously backed attempts to restart talks between Morocco and the Polisario independence movement over the Western Sahara conflict, and extended its peacekeeping mission there for another year.
The resolution came after the U.N. mission confirmed the Polisario had withdrawn troops from the Guerguerat area of the territory, a vast swath of desert bordering the Atlantic Ocean that has been contested since 1975.
They had faced off in Guerguerat since 2016 with Morocco, which pulled its forces back earlier this year.
U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres earlier this month called for Morocco and the Polisario Front, which fought a war over the region until a 1991 ceasefire, to enter new negotiations that would include proposals from both sides.
“This action should improve the prospects of creating an environment that will facilitate early implementation of Mr. Guterres’s determination to relaunch the negotiating process,” the U.N. spokesman said in a statement noting Morocco’s early pullback and confirming Polisario’s withdrawal.
Morocco claimed Western Sahara after colonial Spain left, but Polisario fought a guerrilla war for independence for the Sahrawi people there until the U.N.-backed ceasefire.
U.N. talks have long failed to broker an agreement on how to decide on self-determination. Morocco wants an autonomy plan under Moroccan sovereignty. But Polisario wants a U.N.-backed referendum including on the question of independence.
The U.N. resolution on Friday extended the U.N. peacekeeping mission, known as MINURSO, until April 30, 2018 and called on the parties to resume a fifth round of talks.
Against a backdrop of decades of past political failures and mistrust, the resolution noted Morocco’s 2007 autonomy proposal and welcomed Rabat’s “serious” efforts to progress.
It also emphasised Polisario’s 2007 proposal, which calls for a referendum between independence, integration with Morocco and self-governance.
Past attempts to broker a deal have been fallen apart over details mostly on referendum terms, including who should be allowed to vote.
Morocco’s foreign ministry said in a statement the kingdom was satisfied with the resolution, and hoped for a “real process” toward a solution, which it said should be the autonomy initiative.
Morocco also called for neighbouring Mauritania as well as Algeria, which backs Polisario and maintains tense relations with Rabat, to be involved in negotiations.
“All parties must assume their responsibilities, Algeria must assume its responsibility,” Foreign Minister Nacer Bourita told reporters in Rabat. “Algeria is the missing key.”
That position has in the past been rejected by Polisario which sees the conflict only between itself and Rabat.
Algeria’s Foreign Minister Ramtane Lamamra on Saturday called the resolution a victory for the Sahrawi cause that put the process “back on track”, according to the APS state news agency.
The dispute also reflect splits in the security council. France backs former colony Morocco, and Polisario’s self-declared Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic has been supported by some non-permanent council members and South Africa.
Friday’s UN resolution noted the need for more support for Sahrawi refugees who fled the conflict and have since lived in camps in the south of Algeria.
Since the 1991 ceasefire, the region has effectively been split by an earthen wall separating an area controlled by Morocco that it claims as its southern provinces, and territory controlled by the Polisario with a U.N.-mandated buffer zone between them.
U.N. peacekeepers intervened in a standoff last year after Moroccan forces crossed beyond the earthen wall in Guerguerat near the Mauritania border and Polisario responded by dispatching troops to the area.
(Additional reporting by Michelle Nichols in New York; Editing by Toby Chopra and John Stonestreet)
Morocco on Saturday voiced satisfaction at a UN Security Council resolution endorsing a new peace initiative on the disputed territory of Western Sahara.
Friday’s vote came as UN military observers confirmed that Polisario Front forces, fighting for a breakaway Western Sahara, had withdrawn from the Guerguerat area near the Mauritanian border.
“This action should improve the prospects of creating an environment … to relaunch the negotiating process with a new dynamic and a new spirit,” UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said after the vote.
The Security Council also voted on Friday to renew the mandate of the MINURSO peacekeeping mission in Western Sahara for a year.
“Morocco welcomes the resolution,” foreign minister Nasser Bourita said.
Mr Bourita also voiced satisfaction with the withdrawal of Polisario forces from the Guerguerat area, but said Rabat would continue to “monitor closely” developments.
The Polisario pullback must be “complete, unconditional and permanent”, he said.
Tensions flared last year after the Polisario set up a new military post in Guerguerat – a stone’s throw from Moroccan soldiers – in response to Morocco starting to build a tarmac road in the area.
Morocco pulled out from the area in late February at the request of the UN.
“The Polisario had to leave Guerguerat under pressure from the Security Council and to avoid a staunch condemnation… this comforts Morocco,” Mr Bourita said.
Rabat insists that the Western Sahara, a former Spanish colony, is an integral part of its kingdom, but the Algeria-based Polisario demands a referendum on self-determination there.
The two sides fought for control of the Western Sahara from 1974 to 1991, with Rabat gaining control of the territory before a UN-brokered ceasefire took effect.
Robert M. Holley
April 28, 2017
Generally, the first step in solving a problem is ensuring not to make it any worse. They say, if you are in a hole, stop digging. Doctors enjoin their professional colleagues to first “do no harm.” Grandpa always says, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”
Lately, there is something of a renewal of an idea we have heard before, now again in some fashion among certain influential quarters in Washington and New York, that United Nations peacekeeping is a broken thing. It needs to be put under the microscope and the scalpel and subjected to some radical surgery or given a good scrubbing.
While no one disputes that any large scale endeavor, like most UN peacekeeping missions, that are subject to the competing priorities of multiple alpha bosses with often conflicting agendas could likely do with some efficient fixing, we need to be very careful here that we do not violate one of those other time honored truths to “not throw the baby out with the bath water.”
Case in point, MINURSO, the UN peacekeeping mission in Western Sahara.
Last August, in the interest of facilitating commercial traffic between sub Saharan Africa, through Morocco to Europe, the Moroccan government began to pave a several kilometer stretch of rutted dirt track connecting the Kingdom with Mauritania through a demilitarized buffer zone established by UN peacekeepers from the MINURSO mission, there to maintain the 1991ceasefire between Morocco and the insurrectionist Polisario Front.
In a matter of days after Morocco began to pave the track, Polisario soldiers arrived to prevent this bit of commercial road work. When Polisario troops also began to impede commercial trucking across the border, Morocco also dispatched armed elements to the location. Tensions, predictably, began to mount with Moroccan and Polisario troops separated by less than 200 meters and Polisario threatening war.
Eventually, the King of Morocco became sufficiently concerned by Polisario’s escalating aggressive behavior and hostile threats of a resumption of hostilities, that he requested a direct intervention of the new Secretary General of the United Nations to calm the situation and reduce the threat of another armed conflict in an already fragile Saharan security climate. Responding immediately to the Secretary General’s request, Morocco withdrew its military from the border and buffer zone, but Polisario refused to back away and continued to threaten further escalation.
Only the UN’s MINURSO peacekeepers were present to attempt to calm tensions on the ground.
As this is written on the morning of Friday, April 28, the Security Council is considering the renewal of MINURSO’s mandate for another year and demanding that Polisario withdraw its forces from the buffer zone or face further, and presumably more pointed, consideration from the Council. I am confident that Polisario will see discretion here as the better part of valor and withdraw.
However, without the presence of those MINURSO peacekeepers on the ground and the attention they brought to the issue in the Security Council, I could just as easily see other more dramatic and unwelcome consequences from this dangerous development in the issue of Western Sahara.
Kudos to the King of Morocco for requesting a United Nations intervention and abiding by the Secretary General’s request. Kudos to the Security Council for backing up its peacekeeping mission with a firm stand. And Kudos to MINURSO for doing its job and doing it well. They likely just helped prevent another ruinous war in the increasingly dangerous Sahara/Sahel region of North Africa.
Now, the Security Council needs to work a bit more seriously to prevent more such potential explosions and insist on the political solution it says it favors, reached in a spirit of compromise and realism — two other terms that figure prominently in the UN’s deliberations.
That solution is on the table in the form of Morocco’s generous autonomy initiative, which Washington continues to describe as “serious, credible and realistic.”
And of course, the Council also needs to renew MINURSO’s evidently quite useful peacekeeping mandate and take careful note, following these developments, of the sound purpose it has served, while the Council itself tries to figure out, amongst its members with competing agendas, how to persuade Polisario and its supporters what terms like realism and compromise mean these days.
by Khalid Ibrahim Khaled
With a one-day delay over the initial schedule, the Security Council meeting on the Sahara was finally programmed for this Friday. The Council will vote on a resolution urging the Polisario to withdraw from the Guergarat buffer strip and demanding the resumption of the political process, taking into account the progress made since 2006. The progress resulted essentially from the autonomy plan proposed by Morocco.
This delay is explained by the last-minute pressure exerted by Russia to temper the firm tone of the resolution against the Polisario, which claims the independence of the Western Sahara, in the South of Morocco. Actually, the Security Council’s injunction had put the Algeria-backed Polisario in disarray.
The draft resolution is based on the report presented at the beginning of the month by the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. This report is his first contact with the Sahara issue as UN Chief. In its initial wording, the draft resolution, drafted by the US presidency of the Security Council, called for the immediate and total withdrawal of Polisario elements from the Guergarat buffer zone.
The text spoke of “deep concern that elements of the Polisario Front remain in the buffer zone of Guergarat and in particular their obstruction of regular commercial traffic”. The text was all the more alarming for the separatists and their Algerian mentors that it also exacted the census of the Sahrawi populations living in the Polisario-run Tindouf camps in Algeria.
Besides the fact that the resolution authorizes the renewal of Minurso’s mandate for a further year, the content of the resolution is imbued with the new dynamics that the UN Secretary-General seems willing to instill in this four-decade long issue.
The Sahara issue had reached a dead end because of the recklessness of the former UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and the stubbornness of his personal envoy, the American Christopher Ross.
Security Council Extends Mandate Of United Nations Mission for Referendum In Western Sahara, Unanimously Adopting Resolution 2351 (2017)
7933rd Meeting (Night)
The Security Council decided this afternoon to extend the mandate of the United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO) until 30 April 2018.
Unanimously adopting resolution 2351 (2017), the Council called on the parties to the Western Sahara conflict to resume negotiations under the auspices of the Secretary-General without preconditions and in good faith, in order to facilitate a just, lasting and mutually acceptable political solution.
By other terms of the text, the 15-member Council called on the parties to cooperate fully with the operations of MINURSO, and to take the necessary steps to ensure unhindered movement for United Nations and associated personnel in carrying out their mandate. Reaffirming the need to fully respect military agreements reached with MINURSO on the ceasefire and calls for full adherence to those accords, the Council recognized that the recent crisis in the Guerguerat buffer strip raised fundamental questions about the ceasefire and related agreements.
Emphasizing the importance of the parties’ commitment to continuing the preparations for a fifth round of negotiations, the Council called upon them to demonstrate the political will to work in an atmosphere propitious for dialogue in order to resume negotiations, and to implement the relevant Security Council resolutions.
The Council encouraged the parties to resume cooperation with the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in order to review and, where possible, expand confidence-building measures. It urged Member States to ensure that the humanitarian needs of refugees were adequately addressed. It also supported an increase in the ratio of medical personnel within the current uniformed authorization, as requested in the Secretary-General’s most recent report to address MINURSO’s severely overstretched medical capacity.
Delivering remarks after the vote were representatives of the United States, Uruguay, Sweden, Senegal, Ethiopia, China, France, United Kingdom, Italy, Bolivia, Japan, Ukraine and the Russian Federation.
The meeting began at 6:15 p.m. and at 7:05 p.m.
MICHELE SISON (United States), Council President for April, spoke in her national capacity, emphasizing that peacekeeping missions should support political solutions, said that postponing the vote had been the key to allowing the United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO) to close out the 2016 chapter in the territory. The United States was pleased with the mandate renewal, which helped in returning the Council’s attention where it belonged — supporting a political process to resolve the situation on the ground. Emphasizing that the situation must change, she said the Council must look at the “big picture” in Western Sahara, including the absence of any political process for many years, she said. The resolution demonstrated the importance of the parties working with the United Nations to return to the table. The Mission must be able to hire the right staff in order to be as effective as possible, and to adjust components that were not working, as well as they should. The United States would watch closely to see what happened on the ground, she said.
ELBIO ROSSELLI (Uruguay) noted that the question of Western Sahara predictably came before the Security Council once a year, although the situation rarely created a media sensation. He called for regular information on the functionality of MINURSO, which had been affected by the expulsion of its staff. Since 1963, he recalled, the United Nations had recognized Western Sahara as a Non-Self-Governing Territory in the process of decolonization. Uruguay supported the proposed renewed negotiating process and encouraged the parties to take steps for the creation of a lasting political solution.
CARL SKAU (Sweden) said the resolution represented a real opportunity to resolve one of the longest-standing issues on the Security Council’s agenda. “We can now turn the page,” he added, emphasizing that the resolution sent a strong signal that the time had come to resume negotiations. It provided strong support to the Secretary-General. “This is really diplomacy for peace in action,” he said, stressing the urgent need to resume the political process, which had been at a standstill for far too long. Sweden looked forward to working with the new Envoy, once appointed. Furthermore, the participation of women would inject a new energy into the political process, he said, adding that the resolution also sent a clear signal that it was critical to respect the ceasefire, and that violations would not be accepted.
GORGUI CISS (Senegal) said that concerns reiterated in the text demonstrated the Council’s commitment to finding a fair, lasting and mutually acceptable political solution. Cooperation between Morocco and the Secretariat had produced progress, he said, expressing hope that cooperation with other parties could be guided by realistic steps. Welcoming the Secretary-General’s intention to relaunch the negotiation process, he noted the independence plan proposed by Morocco, describing it as a serious and credible solution. It should be taken into account as negotiations resumed, he added.
TEKEDA ALEMU (Ethiopia) noted that the Secretary-General appeared committed to relaunching the peace process. However, it was important to restore the functionality of the Mission, the role of which had become increasingly important as the situation developed on the ground. Both parties should be called upon to honour the commitments they had made in previous agreements and refrain from any action that would further undermine peace efforts. The Security Council must understand the full context of the situation on the ground in order to arrive at a mutually acceptable political solution.
ZHANG DIANBIN (China) said the Western Sahara issue was complicated, but it was important to create conditions of stability and to take steps towards a political solution. China had always held a position of objectivity and impartiality on the issue, and would continue to support efforts by the United Nations to find a political solution, he added.
FRANÇOIS DELATTRE (France) said the pooled efforts of the Secretary-General and the Council had produced the desired results in Al-Guergarat, and the page could be turned on the crisis. It was now important to respect the ceasefire in all cases, he emphasized. The Council’s support for resuming the political process was unambiguously expressed in the resolution, as was the important role of neighbouring countries in finding a solution, he said.
PETER WILSON (United Kingdom) said today’s forward-looking resolution marked an important step towards a solution to the decades-long conflict. The United Kingdom also welcomed the strong commitment and support for the Secretary-General’s relaunch of the negotiating process with the aim of finding a lasting political solution. It was clear that the issue could only be resolved through progress on the political track, he said.
SEBASTIANO CARDI (Italy) expressed hope that recent developments, as well as the resolution could build the required momentum towards rapid resumption of the political process.
SACHA SERGIO LLORENTTY SOLÍZ (Bolivia) said he trusted that the parties would resume a political process leading to a just, lasting and mutually acceptable political solution. Bolivia was committed to continuing efforts to ensure that the people of Western Sahara could pursue their right to self-determination, he said, noting his country’s strong ties with both the people of Morocco and those of Western Sahara, and believed that dialogue was the only legitimate way for the world’s peoples to live in peace.
YASUHISA KAWAMURA (Japan) voiced appreciation for the Secretary-General’s efforts to resolve the Al-Guergarat crisis and to ensure resumption of the political process. Emphasizing his country’s eagerness to improve the effectiveness of peacekeeping, he said the Council must assess whether deployments were adequately linked to realities on the ground, and stressed the importance of linking political processes to mandates.
VOLODYMYR YELCHENKO (Ukraine) said that while he understood that the text did not address all the concerns of some Council members, the document demonstrated the Council’s effort to revive the political process in Western Sahara. Calling on all parties to rise to their shared responsibility, he urged them to refrain from actions that may undermine the ceasefire agreement.
PETR ILIICHEV (Russian Federation) said the Council’s unified position must send both parties a clear message of the need to resume direct talks. Antagonism would only be overcome through a political solution, he added, emphasizing that Western Sahara conflict had an adverse impact on security in the Maghreb.
The full text of resolution 2351 (2017) reads as follows:
“The Security Council,
“Recalling and reaffirming all its previous resolutions on Western Sahara,
“Reaffirming its strong support for the efforts of the Secretary-General and his Personal Envoy to implement resolutions 1754 (2007), 1783 (2007), 1813 (2008), 1871 (2009), 1920 (2010), 1979 (2011), 2044 (2012), 2099 (2013), 2152 (2014), 2218 (2015), and 2285 (2016),
“Reaffirming its commitment to assist the parties to achieve 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,
“Reiterating its call upon the parties and the neighbouring states to cooperate more fully with the United Nations and with each other and to strengthen their involvement to end the current impasse and to achieve progress towards a political solution,
“Recognizing that achieving a political solution to this long-standing dispute and enhanced cooperation between the Member States of the Maghreb Arab Union would contribute to stability and security in the Sahel region,
“Welcoming the efforts of the Secretary-General to keep all peacekeeping operations, including the United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO), under close review and reiterating the need for the Council to pursue a rigorous, strategic approach to peacekeeping deployments, and effective management of resources,
“Emphasizing the need to regularly evaluate MINURSO’s performance such that the mission retains the skills and flexibility needed to effectively carry out its mandate,
“Further emphasizing that hiring, retention and assignment processes of the United Nations for MINURSO should allow for mission structures to quickly and easily adapt to changing operational environments, and noting the Secretary-General’s intention to reform these processes to make the Organization more nimble,
> “Recognizing the important role played by MINURSO on the ground and the need for it to fully implement its mandate, including its role in supporting the Personal Envoy to achieve a mutually acceptable political solution,
“Expressing concern about the violations of existing agreements, and calling on the parties to respect their relevant obligations,
“Taking note of the Moroccan proposal presented on 11 April 2007 to the Secretary-General and welcoming serious and credible Moroccan efforts to move the process forward towards resolution; also taking note of the Polisario Front proposal presented 10 April 2007 to the Secretary-General,
“Encouraging in this context, the parties to demonstrate further political will towards a solution including by expanding upon their discussion of each other’s proposals and further encouraging the neighbouring countries to make contributions to the political process,
“Taking note of the four rounds of negotiations held under the auspices of the Secretary-General and recognizing the importance of the parties committing to continue the negotiations process,
“Encouraging the parties to resume cooperation with the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Refugees in implementing the January 2012 updated Plan of Action on Confidence-Building Measures, including programmes focused on linking people who have been divided for more than 40 years due to the conflict and further encouraging the parties to consider additional appropriate confidence-building measures,
“Stressing the importance of improving the human rights situation in Western Sahara and the Tindouf camps, and encouraging the parties to work with the international community to develop and implement independent and credible measures to ensure full respect for human rights, bearing in mind their relevant obligations under international law,
“Encouraging the parties to continue in their respective efforts to enhance the promotion and protection of human rights in Western Sahara and the Tindouf refugee camps, including the freedoms of expression and association,
“Welcoming in this regard, the recent steps and initiatives taken by Morocco, and the role played by the National Council on Human Rights Commissions operating in Dakhla and Laayoune, and Morocco’s interaction with Special Procedures of the United Nations Human Rights Council,
“Commending the technical visit of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) to Western Sahara in April 2015, and to the Tindouf refugee camps in July-August 2015, and strongly encouraging enhancing cooperation with OHCHR, including through facilitating further visits to the region,
“Noting with deep concern the continued hardships faced by Sahrawi refugees and their dependency on external humanitarian assistance, and further noting insufficient funding for those living in Tindouf refugee camps and the risk of potential reductions in food assistance,
“Reiterating its request for consideration of a refugee registration in the Tindouf refugee camps and emphasizing efforts be made in this regard,
“Stressing the importance of a commitment by the parties to continue the process of negotiations through the United Nations-sponsored talks and encouraging the meaningful participation of women in these,
“Recognizing that the consolidation of the status quo is not acceptable, and noting further that progress in the negotiations is essential in order to improve the quality of life of the people of Western Sahara in all its aspects,
“Expressing gratitude for the efforts of the Secretary-General’s Personal Envoy for Western Sahara, Ambassador Christopher Ross, throughout his tenure, and affirming its continued full support for the Secretary-General’s Personal Envoy for Western Sahara in facilitating negotiations between the parties, and calling on the parties and neighbouring States to cooperate fully with the Personal Envoy,
“Affirming full support for the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Western Sahara and Head of MINURSO Kim Bolduc,
“Having considered the report of the Secretary-General of 10 April 2017 (document S/2017/307),
“1. Decides to extend the mandate of MINURSO until 30 April 2018;
“2. Reaffirms the need for full respect of the military agreements reached with MINURSO with regard to the ceasefire and calls on the parties to adhere fully to those agreements;
“3. Recognizes that the recent crisis in the buffer strip in Guerguerat raises fundamental questions related to the ceasefire and related agreements and encourages the Secretary-General to explore ways that such questions can be resolved;
“4. Calls upon all parties to cooperate fully with the operations of MINURSO, including its free interaction with all interlocutors, and to take the necessary steps to ensure the security of, as well as unhindered movement and immediate access for the United Nations and associated personnel in carrying out their mandate, in conformity with existing agreements;
“5. Emphasizes the importance of the parties’ commitment to continue the process of preparation for a fifth round of negotiations, and recalls its endorsement of the recommendation in the report of 14 April 2008 (S/2008/251) that realism and a spirit of compromise by the parties are essential to achieve progress in negotiations, and encourages the neighbouring countries to make important contributions to this process;
“6. Calls upon the parties to show political will and work in an atmosphere propitious for dialogue in order to resume negotiations, thus ensuring implementation of resolutions 1754 (2007), 1783 (2007), 1813 (2008), 1871 (2009), 1920 (2010), 1979 (2011), 2044 (2012), 2099 (2013), 2152 (2014), and 2218 (2015), and the success of negotiations;
“7. Affirms its full support for the commitment of the Secretary-General and his Personal Envoy towards a solution to the question of Western Sahara in this context to relaunch the negotiating process with a new dynamic and a new spirit leading to the resumption of a political process with the aim of reaching a 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;
“8. Calls 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;
“9. Invites Member States to lend appropriate assistance to these talks;
“10. Requests the Secretary-General to brief the Security Council on a regular basis, and at least twice a year, on the status and progress of these negotiations under his auspices, on the implementation of this resolution, challenges to MINURSO’s operations and steps taken to address them, expresses its intention to meet to receive and discuss his briefings and in this regard, and further requests the Secretary-General to provide a report on the situation in Western Sahara well before the end of the mandate period;
“11. Further requests the Secretary-General to update the Security Council within six months of the appointment of the new Personal Envoy on: (i) ways in which the Personal Envoy, working with the parties, is progressing towards a 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 present a clear path forward; (ii) how MINURSO’s performance measures are being developed and implemented; (iii) how structures and staffing can be reorganized to achieve mission goals efficiently; and (iv) how new technologies are being considered to reduce risk, improve force protection and better implement the mandate of MINURSO;
“12. Encourages the parties to resume cooperation with the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to review, and where possible, expand confidence-building measures;
“13. Urges Member States to provide new and additional voluntary contributions to fund food programmes to ensure that the humanitarian needs of refugees are adequately addressed and avoid reductions in food rations;
“14. Requests the Secretary-General to continue to take the necessary measures to ensure full compliance in MINURSO with the United Nations zero‑tolerance policy on sexual exploitation and abuse and to keep the Council informed, and urges troop-contributing countries to take appropriate preventive action including predeployment awareness training, and other action to ensure full accountability in cases of such conduct involving their personnel;
“15. Supports an increase in the ratio of medical personnel within the current uniformed authorization as requested in the most recent report of the Secretary-General to address the severely overstretched medical capacity of MINURSO;
“16. Decides to remain seized of the matter.”
Chargé d'Affaires at the US Embassy in Rabat, Stephanie Miley, hailed, on Wednesday in Cap Draâ (southern Morocco), 240 years of “formidable, deep and rich” relations between Morocco and her country.
The Moroccan pavilion at the "Seafood Expo Global" of Brussels was inaugurated on Wednesday by Morocco's ambassadors to the EU and Belgium, Ahmed Reda Chami and Mohamed Ameur.
The 600-m2 stand features a large array of products dubbed "Moroccan Seafood", a label seeking to improve the positioning of the national offer.
The Moroccan presence in the international fair is aimed at spotlighting the diversity of the Kingdom's fisheries products.
London is hosting on April 24-25 at the London Stock Exchange the 2nd edition of "Morocco Capital Markets Days", a platform to present Morocco's business opportunities and prospects for the Moroccan-British cooperation.
Speaking at the event, initiated in partnership with Casablanca stock exchange, British minister for Middle East and North Africa Tobias Ellwood underlined business opportunities offered by the two long-standing friendly countries.
The House of Representatives (lower house) will hold, on Wednesday, a plenary session to vote on the government program.
This session will be preceded by a meeting devoted to the head of government's response to the speeches on the government program, the lower house said in a statement.
The two sessions will be held in accordance with the provisions of article 88 of the Constitution and article 176 of the Rules of Procedure of the house.
MAP 25 April 2017
Pursuant to the instructions of HM the King, Supreme Commander and Chief of General Staff of the Royal Armed Forces (FAR), a high-level seminar, organized jointly by the Royal Armed Forces and the Armed Forces taking part in the "African Lion 2017" exercise, was held on Tuesday at the southern zone staff in Agadir.
France lauded on Tuesday the "positive dynamics" in the Sahara issue following recent "positive actions" and called for a "complete withdrawal" from the Guergarat region in order to advance the political process.
"We have seen a new momentum and positive dynamics, as well as positive actions that have been taken, and which will strengthen this new impetus," France’s ambassador to the United Nations, François Delattre told reporters shortly before the start of the UN Security Council's closed door consultations on the Minurso.
Hungary praises the "stabilizing" role played by Morocco in the Northern African region, Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto said.
"Morocco can be proud of its economic progress over the last few years”, the head of the Hungarian diplomacy said at a press briefing following a meeting with Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Nasser Bourita.
Schlumberger will carry out a US$27mln geophysical programme to identify follow-on targets to build on the successes at nearby Tendrara.
Schlumberger gets 27.5% of the assets
City followers of Sound Energy PLC (LON:SOU) are impressed with the Morocco and Italy focussed firm’s latest deal, partnering with Schlumberger taking a stake exploration acreage near the Tendrara discovery.
The deal will see the AIM-listed gas exploration and development group receive a free carry on a US$27mln geophysical programme.
In return, Schlumberger will receive 27.5% stakes respectively in the newly acquired Meridja licence and the Tendrara relinquished areas onshore Morocco.
It builds on the three-well deal the pair inked covering Tendrara and follow-up agreement that will allow the US group to earn into the Badile operation near Milan, Italy.
Oil companies expert Malcolm Graham Wood, in his daily blog, said: “Yet again Sound have managed to acquire and share really interesting acreage securing a full carry on a key programme of work.
“With a supportive partner creating a key, strategic relationship, their options in the area are still multi-faceted.”
Elsewhere, WH Ireland analyst Brendan Long said: “This is clearly a positive endorsement by Schlumberger of the relinquishment areas and an indication of Schlumberger’s satisfaction with its working relationship with Sound.”
Eastern Morocco exploration programme
The exploration programme will include the acquisition and processing of approximately 2,600 kilometres of new 2D seismic and 24,000-square kilometres of gravity gradiometry.
The seismic will cover the TAGI and Paleozoic horizons across the Tendrara and Meridja areas.
“We are delighted to introduce Schlumberger into Meridja and the relinquished areas whilst also securing a full carry on the forthcoming seismic programme,” said chief executive James Parsons.
“The extension of the field management agreement will further deepen our strategic relationship with Schlumberger, who share the company’s view of our eastern Morocco potential and frees up cash to allow us to accelerate our exploration of the region.”
Asharq Al-Awsat English
Morocco has summoned Algeria’s ambassador to express concern after 54 Syrians attempted to illegally enter the country from Algeria. (AFP)
The Moroccan Interior Ministry accused Algerian authorities of deporting 55 Syrians, including women and children, towards the kingdom as Rabat summoned the Algerian envoy over the development.
The ministry statement said that the Algerian authorities have “cornered” the refugees nears the border city of Figuig.
The Moroccan authorities “condemned these inhumane actions by the Algerian authorities against these refugees, especially when it comes to women and children who are in a fragile state.”
It questioned how the authorities in the neighboring country have not catered to the displaced and instead forced them towards Moroccan soil.
The development has forced Morocco to summon Algeria’s ambassador to express concern after the Syrians attempted to “illegally enter” the country from Algeria, the ministry of foreign affairs said in a statement on Sunday.
It said 54 Syrians attempted to enter Morocco through the border town of Figuig, an area surrounded by mountains, between April 17 and 19. It accused Algeria of forcing them to cross into Morocco.
“Algeria must assume political responsibility and morality concerning this situation,” the ministry statement on MAP state news agency said.
“It is immoral and unethical to manipulate the moral and physical distress of these people, (and) to sow trouble in the Morocco-Algerian border.”
There was no immediate response from Algeria on state news agency APS.
Some 5,000 Syrians have gone through a migration regulatory process in Morocco, with several hundred receiving refugee status, according to Morocco’s ministry of foreign affairs.
Morocco and Algeria share a 1,500 km (970 mile) land border that runs from the Mediterranean Sea to the Sahara Desert which has been shut since 1994.
The North African neighbors have had a contentious relationship since independence from France. Border disputes triggered an armed conflict in the 1960s known as the “Sand War”.
One of their biggest disputes has been over Western Sahara, a former Spanish colony, most of which Morocco annexed in 1975.
Algeria supports and hosts the Western Saharan independence movement Polisario, a stance which angers Morocco.
Asharq Al-Awsat English
Asharq Al-Awsat is the world’s premier pan-Arab daily newspaper, printed simultaneously each day on four continents in 14 cities. Launched in London in 1978, Asharq Al-Awsat has established itself as the decisive publication on pan-Arab and international affairs, offering its readers in-depth analysis and exclusive editorials, as well as the most comprehensive coverage of the entire Arab world.
Middle East Eye
Morocco has accused Algeria of expelling 55 Syrian migrants across the countries’ shared border, criticising it for “inhumane behaviour” in the latest row between the North African rivals.
The migrants were sent across the frontier near the desert town of Figuig, Morocco’s interior ministry said in a statement Friday.
They had reached the area in several groups before being “surrounded” by the Algerian police amid searing heat in the rugged terrain, according to the Moroccan authorities.
Rabat condemned its North African neighbour’s “inhumane behaviour” towards the migrants, who included “women and children in a very vulnerable situation”.
The act was ‘contrary to the rules of good neighbourliness advocated by Morocco’
– Moroccan Interior Ministry
The expulsion was “contrary to the rules of good neighbourliness advocated by Morocco,” it said.
The Moroccan media reported that the Syrians had been left to their fate in the border region as Morocco prevented them from entering its territory.
The ministry’s statement did not say whether they had been allowed to seek asylum in Morocco.
“This is not the first time that the Algerian authorities have expelled immigrants to Moroccan territory,” it said.
An NGO official in Figuig, who requested anonymity, said the migrants were still stuck at the border Saturday in two groups, without access to water or food.
In mid-March, a Moroccan migrant rights group, GADEM, reported that about 30 sub-Saharan migrants had been arrested in Morocco then left stranded in no man’s land between Morocco and Algeria, having been deported from both countries.
READ: Algeria: Tomorrow’s battleground for Islamic State and al-Qaeda?
Morocco adopted a new migration policy in 2013. In December it launched a new campaign to regularise the status of clandestine migrants on its territory, most of them from sub-Saharan Africa.
Rabat insists its migration policy is “humane and generous,” in contrast, it says, with the policy of its Algerian rival.
In January 2014, Morocco summoned Algeria’s ambassador to protest against its alleged expulsion of Syrians across their common border.
Algeria responded in kind, saying its border guards had merely refused to allow Syrians deported by Morocco to enter its territory.
Foreign Ministry Expresses Moroccan Authorities' Deep Concern Over Syrians' Attempt to Illegally Enter Morocco
The foreign ministry expressed, on April 22, 2017, to the Algerian ambassador in Rabat, the deep concern of the Moroccan authorities following the attempt by 54 Syrians (on April 17-19) to illegally enter, from Algeria, the Moroccan territory at the level of the City of Figuig's border zone.
A statement by the ministry underlined that the Algerian ambassador in Rabat was informed about the testimonies and pictures attesting irrefutably to the fact that these people crossed the Algerian territory before entering Morocco.