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

 

Malawi In Urgent Need After Intense Flooding

Torrential rains in Malawi have caused dozens of deaths, with hundreds of people still missing. Photo: UNDP/Arjan van de Merwe More>>

Lack Of Funding Hampering Aid To Syria

Deputy Emergency Relief Coordinator Kyung-wha Kang briefs the Security Council on the situation in Syria. UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe More>>

Spy Agency CSE Is Monitoring Our Private Online Activities

Breaking - Spy agency CSE is monitoring our private online activities on a massive scale and sharing sensitive data with other governments More>>

UN ‘blue Helmet’ Killed Near Lebanon-Israel Cross-Fire

28 January 2015 – A United Nations peacekeeper with the UN Interim Force in Lebanon ( UNIFIL ) was killed today near the border with Israel but the precise cause of death is as yet undetermined and remains the subject of investigation, according ... More>>

ALSO:


Lack Of Funds Forces UN Agency To Halt Gaza Rebuild

Lack of funds forces UN agency to halt Gaza programme for repairs to destroyed homes More>>

ALSO:

Freeport Wins 6-Month Export Extension

An aerial view shows the site of the Grasberg Mine, operated by US.-based Freeport-McMoRan, in Papua in this Nov. 4, 2010 file photo. (Reuters Photo/Muhammad Yamin) More>>

ALSO:

Former Malaysian Prime Minister Speaks Out Against Sarawak

After receiving a letter from the network of communities affected by the dams, Malaysia’s former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad criticises the Sarawak government’s multi-dam initiative More>>

Egypt: UN Rights Chief Urges End To Excessive Use Of Force

As police, protesters clash in Egypt, UN rights chief urges end to excessive use of force More>>

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
World
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news