Morocco Welcomes Candidacy of de Mistura as UNSG Special Envoy to the Sahara

Morocco Welcomes Candidacy of de Mistura as UNSG Special Envoy to the Sahara

On Tuesday, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres initiated negotiations with the UN Security Council members for the appointment of Italian-Swedish UN official, Staffan de Mistura, as his Personal Envoy to the Moroccan Sahara.

Morocco’s Permanent Representative to the UN, Mr Omar Hilale stated that “de Mistura can rely on Morocco's unfailing cooperation and support in the implementation of his mediation for the settlement of this regional dispute.”

M. Omar Hilale confirmed that Morocco had "already communicated its agreement to Antonio Guterres."

Morocco’s agreement results from its confidence and its support for the UN Secretary General’s efforts, “to achieve a political, realistic, pragmatic, sustainable and compromise solution to the regional dispute over the Moroccan Sahara", Hilale added.

Morocco’s Permanent Representative to the UN described Staffan de Mistura as "a cornerstone of the UN in its efforts to settle disputes peacefully." De Mistura, has a substantial amount of experience in Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq and on the African continent.

Morocco further underlined that De Mistura is an “unbiased UN diplomat” with expertise in “international diplomacy,” which enables him to fully “understand the issues in the region and also comprehend the security and destabilizing threats.”

The likely appointment of de Mistura breaks a two-year deadlock in the peace process. This  diplomatic position had been left vacant following the resignation of the previous envoy, Horst Kohler.

Morocco regretted that Algeria had rejected several "highly qualified" candidates which is the primary reason the appointment was delayed for two years. Morocco’s Permanent Representative to the UN expressed his hope that the "delaying tactics" will come to an end to allow "the resumption of the roundtable process, long awaited by the Secretary General and the Security Council."

Mr Hilale highlighted that Morocco expects the timely appointment of de Mistura. He stated that “Morocco has been keen on the UN series of talks to reach a realistic, practical, and permanent political solution to stop the dispute in the Sahara.”

Morocco “has solemnly reaffirmed” its constant position for “autonomy, nothing but autonomy” as a solution for the dispute as stated “during the two previous round tables in Geneva, in the presence of Algerian ministers Lamssahel, then Lamamra.” Morocco has offered broad regional autonomy “within the framework of Moroccan sovereignty and territorial integrity,"