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Sahara: UN extends the mandate of MINURSO until 2023

The Security Council voted Thursday on its mission in Western Sahara
minurso sahara

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With 13 votes in favour and the abstentions of Russia and Kenya, the UN Security Council voted Thursday afternoon to extend the mandate of the United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara. The Security Council's decision delays the expiration of its mission for another year, until 31 October 2023. 

In its resolution 2654 (2022), the Security Council shows its support for the work of its special envoy in the Sahara, Staffan de Mistura, and welcomes the achievements of the two rounds of roundtables in 2018 and 2019. 

At no point does the document issued by the United Nations refer to the Kingdom of Spain. It does call on the other parties to reach an understanding on this conflict. Algeria, Morocco, the Polisario Front and Mauritania are called upon to work with de Mistura to make progress on this dossier. 

As for Algeria, the Security Council resolution always mentions it as a party involved in the process, contrary to what the Algerian government has repeatedly tried to make it out to be. 

Nor was the term "referendum" mentioned in the Security Council communiqué. Instead, the UN calls on the actors involved to find a "just, lasting and mutually acceptable political solution based on compromise". A definition that the countries involved in the dossier echo in their recent statements on the issue. It is the statement commonly used by France, Germany and Spain to position themselves on potential solutions to the Sahara conflict. 

In the same vein, the Security Council welcomes Morocco's "serious and credible efforts to advance the process towards a resolution".  

It does maintain the references to 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 of the responsibilities of the parties in this regard". 

The Security Council also refers to a hypothetical increase in the number of troops participating in the peace-keeping mission in the Sahara, outside MINURSO, and regrets the end of the cease-fire.