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Russia Fails in Amending UNSC Resolution on Western Sahara

A new report has documented Russia’s new failed maneuver in attempting to amend the new draft resolution on Western Sahara.

The UN Security Council is set to vote on the new draft resolution on Monday to extend the mandate of MINURSO, a peacekeeping operation in Western Sahara.

The Security Council Report said that the draft resolution does not include anything major or different from Resolution 2654 , which was adopted on October 2022.

The Security Council Report stressed that the US, the penholder of the draft resolution, “sought a straightforward renewal of MINURSO’s mandate, without making substantive changes to the provisions contained in resolution 2654 of 27 October 20222, which most recently extended the mission’s mandate.”

While the negotiations on the draft resolution were “generally smooth,” according to the same source, Russia expressed frustration over the text, claiming that it is “unbalanced.”

“Russia broke silence, maintaining that the draft text was unbalanced and did not incorporate the changes it has proposed,” the report said. “Nevertheless, yesterday (26 October), the US proceeded to put an unchanged draft text in blue.”

“In blue” refers to Security Council documents printed with blue ink and issued in provisional form. When the security council approaches the final phase of negotiating a draft resolution, the text is printed in blue.

This is not the first time that Russia obstructs the UN-led political process – particularly with regards to negotiations over new resolutions for Western Sahara.

For the past seven years, Russia has been calling on the US to adopt new language in Western Sahara resolutions in an attempt to emphasize its mission in organizing a self determination referendum in the Sahara.

The US, however, has continually rejected Russia’s pro-Polisario maneuvers while retaining the same language as the previously adopted resolution.

The US also rejected a Russian-Mozambique maneuver, seeking to limit Algeria’s role in the Western Sahara dispute.

Both countries sought to introduce amendments to link the dispute to Morocco and Polisario exclusively, to alleviate pressure on the Algerian regime, which has continued to shirk its responsibility in the dispute.

Russia is one of Algeria’s strongest allies, being its number one arms supplier. Russia has long adopted an approach appeasing Algeria in the Western Sahara dispute.

For instance, Russia has either repeatedly voted against or abstained from voting for resolutions that endorsed Morocco’s efforts in the UN-led political process.

Such maneuvers have led many to question Russia’s motives behind its repeated abstention from voting – viewing it as a signal to appease Algeria, one of the main parties to the dispute.

Fake neutral stance

Behind the guise of a professed “neutral stance,” Algeria claims to be merely an observer to the dispute and continues to refuse to take part in UN-sponsored roundtables. The claims come amid its unwavering support for the separatist Polisario Front, which seeks to undermine Morocco’s territorial integrity by claiming independence in Western Sahara.

Algeria finances, arms, shelters, and supports the Polisario Front, which takes Algeria’s southernmost area of Tindouf as a shelter.

The UN Secretary General annual report on the Sahara dispute further acknowledged Algeria’s obstruction of the UN-led political process over Western Sahara.

Paragraph 32 of the report emphasized that Algeria has “continued to object the roundtable format, contending that in 2018-2019 its participation has been ‘instrumentalised.’”

Algeria’s reluctance is further proof of its refusal to comply with last year’s Resolution 2654 and the precedent resolutions, which called on all parties to engage in the UN-led political process and to support UN Personal Envoy Staffan de Mistura and his efforts to find an agreed upon and mutually acceptable solution to the dispute.

Notably, Resolution 2654 adopted by the UN Security Council last year stressed “the important contribution of the former Personal Envoy of the Secretary-General to Western Sahara in convening the roundtable process” and welcoming the momentum created by the first roundtable meetings in 2018 and 2019.

Source: Morocco World News