AU welcomes UN Secretary General’s report on Western Sahara

Addis Ababa, April 17, 2014 (SPS) - The Chairperson of the Commission of the African Union (AU), Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma has welcomed the report issued by the UN Secretary General on the situation concerning Western Sahara.
In a press release issued Tuesday, Mrs. Dlamini-Zuma recalled to the recommendation made for the UN Security Council comprehensively to review the framework that it provided for the negotiating process in April 2007, if no progress occur before April 2015.
She also recalled to call made to all relevant actors, in light of the increased interest in the natural resources of Western Sahara, to “recognize the principle that the interests of the inhabitants... are paramount”; as well as the recognition that the end goal remains the “sustained, independent and impartial monitoring of human rights.”
Bearing in mind that Western Sahara has been on the list of Non-Self-Governing Territories since 1963, the AU Commission Chairperson called upon the UN Security Council to seize the opportunity of the consideration of the report of the Secretary-General and the adoption of its next resolution on Western Sahara, which is expected to extend the mandate of MINURSO until 30 April 2015, to give the much-needed impetus to the search for a solution to the conflict.
She, therefore, pointed out that, in resolution 2099 (2013) of 25 April 2013, the Security Council called upon the Parties to continue negotiations under the auspices of the Secretary-General without preconditions and in good faith, 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 UN Charter.
“It is also important that the Security Council provide MINURSO with a human rights mandate, as is the case for other UN peacekeeping operations, and address the issue of the exploitation of the Territory's natural resources, in keeping with the legal opinion issued by the UN Legal Counsel on 29 January 2002,” said the AU official.
Dr. Dlamini-Zuma reiterated AU’s support for the efforts of the UN Security Council and those of the Secretary-General, including his Personal Envoy, announcing that the Commission is taking steps to consult with a number of stakeholders, including relevant international partners, with a view to urging for renewed international efforts to facilitate the early resolution of the conflict on the basis of international legality. (SPS)