World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search

 


UN Envoy Urges Resolution To Western Sahara Crisis


Amidst Series Of Meetings, UN Envoy Urges Resolution To Western Sahara Crisis
New York, Nov 12 2012 6:10PM Amid the rising threat of extremist elements in Africa's Sahel region, the dispute over Western Sahara must be resolved before lingering hostilities consume the North African country and plunge the entire region into renewed conflict, the United Nations top official on the issue warned today.

In a press statement released following his visit with the Foreign Minister of Spain in Madrid, the Secretary-General's Personal Envoy for Western Sahara, Christopher Ross, cautioned that the crisis had lasted "far too long" and called any acceptance of the status quo a "serious miscalculation."

"I am urging the parties to move swiftly into serious negotiations, and I am asking key members of the international community to use their influence to encourage the parties to do so," Mr. Ross stated, adding that in a region in transition, a conflict such as the one in the Western Sahara "cannot be allowed to stand still."

The UN has been involved in mediation efforts to find a settlement in Western Sahara since 1976, when fighting broke out between Morocco and the movement known as Frente Polisario, after the Spanish colonial administration of the territory ended. A UN peacekeeping force, known as the UN Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO) has also been in place since 1991.

The envoy said the current status quo is threatened by developments in West Africa's Sahel region, which has seen the growing presence of Islamist extremists and militants, including a branch of Al Qaida. Recently, in Mali, radical Islamists seized control of the north, where they have imposed an extremist version of Muslim Sharia law and stringent rules targeting women.

The instability and insecurity resulting from renewed clashes in Mali, as well as the proliferation of armed groups in the region, drought and political instability has sparked fears among many in the international community that the Sahel as a whole is on the brink of destabilization.

Mr. Ross pointed out that in this dangerously precarious environment, the Western Sahara's festering hostilities risked sparking renewed violence which would be "tragic for the people of Western Sahara and for North Africa as a whole."

According to the UN official's statement, Spanish officials were "keen" to contribute to the mediation efforts and Mr. Ross noted that he had "benefited greatly" from the exchange with his Spanish interlocutors.

Prior to his trip to Spain, Mr. Ross also met with delegations from countries neighbouring Western Sahara - Algeria and Mauritania - which have been active in establishing confidence-building measures and seeking a solution to the situation.

In addition, the UN envoy will make stops in Paris, Washington, D.C., London and Moscow where he plans to address the issue with his counterparts in those Western capitals before returning to North Africa.

"The conflict must be resolved," Mr. Ross said, "and I believe that it can be resolved if there is a will to engage in real dialogue and compromise to find a solution that is honourable for all." Nov 12 2012 6:10PM ________________ For more details go to UN News Centre at http://www.un.org/news

Follow us on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/UN.News.Centre) and Twitter (http://twitter.com/UN_News_Centre)

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
World Headlines

 

Myanmar Election: UNICEF Urges Prioritisation Of Children

With 99 days to go before Myanmar elections, UNICEF urges candidates make children the clear winner More>>

Liberia Thousands Of Unregistered Children Born During Ebola Crisis

Thousands of unregistered children born in Liberia during Ebola crisis at risk of exploitation – UNICEF More>>

UN Refugee Agency Envoy Angelina Jolie Visits Myanmar

UNHCR Special Envoy Angelina Jolie Pitt (left) in Myitkyina township, Kachin State, Myanmar, meeting with some of the 100,000 displaced people who currently live there. Photo: UNHCR/T.Stoddart More>>

As Health Needs Rise In Somalia, Funding Hits New Low

As health needs rise in Somalia, funding hits new low, cutting off 1.5 million from care – UN More>>

Need To End Violence Against Children In Conflict

‘We should be outraged’ more not being done to end violence against children in conflict – UNICEF chief More>>

On Mandela Day, UN Joins Call To Promote Community Service

Nelson Mandela, then Deputy President of the African National Congress of South Africa, raises his fist in the air while addressing the Special Committee Against Apartheid in the General Assembly Hall. UN Photo/P. Sudhakaran More>>

Some $3.2 Billion Needed For Ebola Recovery Efforts

Some $3.2 billion needed for Ebola recovery efforts in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone – UN More>>

World Day: UN Spotlights Plight Of Vulnerable Populalations

Syrian refugees fleeing the fighting near the Syrian city of Kobani wait in a holding area before boarding buses in Turkey (September 2014). Photo: UNHCR /I. Prickett More>>

Afghanisatan: Direct Talks Between Government And Taliban

The United Nations Security Council has welcomed the recently held direct talks between Afghan Government and Taliban representatives as a step towards “peace and reconciliation” in the region. More>>

Eradicating World Hunger By 2030

Agriculture workers collect carrots on a farm in Chimaltenango, Guatemala. Photo: World Bank/Maria Fleischmann More>>

Bangladesh: Flood Leads To UN Agency Providing Food Relief

Anwar Hossain unloads cartons of High Energy Biscuits from a pickup truck and transfers them to a distribution center in Kawar Khop union, Ramu upazila, Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh. Photo: WFP/Kamrul Mithon More>>

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
World
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news