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Cablegate: Western Sahara: Security Council Disappointed By

VZCZCXRO9292
PP RUEHTRO
DE RUCNDT #0101/01 0352332
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 042332Z FEB 08
FM USMISSION USUN NEW YORK
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 3657
INFO RUEHGG/UN SECURITY COUNCIL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHAS/AMEMBASSY ALGIERS PRIORITY 1510
RUEHMD/AMEMBASSY MADRID PRIORITY 6285
RUEHNK/AMEMBASSY NOUAKCHOTT PRIORITY 0103
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS PRIORITY 1110
RUEHRB/AMEMBASSY RABAT PRIORITY 1133
RUEHTRO/AMEMBASSY TRIPOLI PRIORITY
RUEHCL/AMCONSUL CASABLANCA PRIORITY 0504

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 USUN NEW YORK 000101

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PGOV UNSC AG MO WI
SUBJECT: WESTERN SAHARA: SECURITY COUNCIL DISAPPOINTED BY
LACK OF SUBSTANTIVE NEGOTIATIONS BUT HOPES FOR PROGRESS IN
MARCH


USUN NEW Y 00000101 001.2 OF 002


1.(SBU) Summary. Personal Envoy for Western Sahara Peter van
Walsum briefed the Security Council on February 4 on the
Secretary General's report from the third round of

SIPDIS
negotiations between Morocco and the Polisario Front.
Delegations expressed disappointment that this round did not
consist of substantive negotiations, but hoped for progress
following van Walsum's upcoming trip to the region and the
parties' commitment to engage in substantive negotiations at
the fourth round of talks on March 11-13. Several
delegations raised concerns about human rights violations in
the region and the lack of agreement on confidence-building
measures. Belgian Permrep Verbeke said that if the parties
do not take responsibility for finding a solution, the
Security Council would need to revisit their commitment to
the process, while the Croatian DPR noted the need to
consider an exit strategy for MINURSO troops if negotiations
fail. The US-proposed press statement on Western Sahara was
adopted at the end of the meeting. End Summary.

VAN WALSUM: NO SUBSTANTIVE NEGOTIATIONS in 3rd ROUND
--------------------------------------------- -------
2. (SBU) Personal Envoy for Western Sahara Peter van Walsum
briefed the Security Council on February 4 on the Secretary
General's report from the third round of negotiations between
Morocco and the Polisario Front. Van Walsum presented a
"modest report describing a modest meeting," in which the
parties did not engage in substantive negotiations despite
good intentions and good faith efforts. He said that although
the parties' fundamental positions were incompatible, he
believed the negotiation process could break the impasse. He
commented that the international community lacked the
political will to solve the issue and would prefer to
maintain the status quo rather than choose sides between the
parties. Van Walsum was encouraged by the parties'
commitment to continue discussions on March 11-13 in
Manhasset and by their agreement on the need to move into
substantive negotiations. He also noted that the SYG report
on extending MINURSO would be due one month after the March
meeting. Van Walsum leaves February 5 to visit the region
and consult with the parties.

US SUPPORTS CONTINUING NEGOTIATIONS
-----------------------------------
3. (SBU) USUN Minister PolCouns said that the US was
encouraged that the parties agreed to reconvene for more
substantive negotiations in March and noted support for van
Walsum's upcoming trip to the region.

DELEGATIONS HOPE FOR PROGRESS IN 4th ROUND
------------------------------------------
4. (SBU) All delegations expressed disappointment that the
third round of negotiations did not achieve measurable
progress, but were encouraged by the parties' commitment to
engage in substantive negotiations in the fourth round of
talks in March. Delegates reaffirmed their commitment to UNSC
Resolutions 1754 and 1783 and their support for van Walsum's
upcoming trip to the region.

5. (SBU) Belgian Permrep Verbeke emphasized the need to hold
the parties to their commitment to two basic principles: to
negotiate in good faith without pre-conditions to achieve
self-determination, and the responsibility of the two parties
to find a mutually acceptable solution. Verbeke said that if
the parties do not take responsibility for finding a
solution, the Security Council would need to revisit those
principles.

6. (SBU) French DPR Lacroix emphasized that the international
community should focus on facilitating dialogue and must
avoid any provocation on the ground. He also said that he
believed the 2007 Moroccan Autonomy Plan for Western Sahara
was a good starting point for negotiations. Croatian DPR
Muharemi noted the need to consider an exit strategy for
MINURSO troops if negotiations failed, especially since TCCs
had not been fully reimbursed by the UN for their costs.
South African Permrep Kumalo highlighted the importance of
supporting the self-determination efforts of the people in
the last colony on the African continent, while Libyan DPR
Dabbashi focused on the urgent need for a solution to
encourage the implementation of the Arab Maghreb region.
Panamanian Permrep Arias recommended that van Walsum
encourage informal formats in future negotiations to help the
parties overcome their lack of readiness for negotiations.

USUN NEW Y 00000101 002.2 OF 002

CONCERNS ABOUT HUMAN RIGHTS AND CONFIDENCE-BUILDING MEASURES
-------------------------------------------
7. (SBU) The South African, Costa Rican, Croatian, and
Panamanian delegations voiced concerns about human rights
violations in the region, and Costa Rican DPR Weisleder noted
that although it was too early for the SC to speak on the
issue, he hoped it would revisit the issue soon.

8. (SBU) The South African, Costa Rican, and Panamanian
delegations also called for an increased focus on
confidence-building measures. The South Africans called for
cooperation between military commanders and political leaders
and the Costa Ricans highlighted their uneasiness about the
lack of agreement on humanitarian measures. Van Walsum
attributed the lack of agreement on confidence-building
measures to Morocco's fear that focusing on such measures
would divert attention from a political solution. He also
stated that Morocco wanted to continue and expand existing
measures, including extending the Family Program to cover
land as well as air, instead of creating new ones.

PRESS STATEMENT ADOPTED
-----------------------
9. (SBU) Security Council adopted the press statement
proposed by the United States.
Begin text:
The members of the Security Council welcome the report
of the Secretary-General of 28 January 2008 (S/2008/45) on
the status and progress of the negotiations on Western Sahara.
The members of the Security Council are pleased that
the parties and States of the region agreed to meet on 11-13
March 2008 in Manhasset, New York, in accordance with
resolution 1783 (2007).
The members of the Security Council support the
intention of the Personal Envoy of the Secretary-General for
Western Sahara to travel to the region for in-depth
consultations in preparation for the next round of talks.
The members of the Security Council welcome that the
parties reiterated their commitment to show political will
and negotiate in good faith and agreed on the need to move
the process into a more intensive and substantive phase of
negotiations under United Nations auspices.
The members of the Security Council reaffirm their
strong support for the efforts on the Secretary-General and
his Personal Envoy to implement resolutions 1754 (2007) and
1783 (2007).
End Text.
KHALILZAD

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