Security Council extends term of UN mission in Sahara
Morocco, Politics, 12/18/1998
The UN security council unanimously decided on Thursday to extend till January 31, 1999 the term of MINURSO (UN mission supervising the referendum process in the Sahara).
In its resolution adopted following a recommendation of UN secretary general, Kofi Annan, the security council said the extension of the MINURSO term is destined to carry on consultations in the hope that they will lead to an agreement on various protocols (related to the UN peace plan) without altering the essence of Annan's proposals.
The resolution also notes that by implementing the UN secretary general's proposal to launch simultaneously the identification and appeals procedures, the parties (Morocco and Algerian-backed Polisario) would produce evidence to their readiness to speed up the referendum process. The security council further asks the parties and interested sides to sign, the soonest possible, with the UN high Commissioner for Refugees the protocol project for the repatriation of refugees.
The Security Council calls the secretary general to submit another report by January 22, 1999 on the implementation of the latest resolution and progress made in the enforcement of the settlement process and on agreements reached between the parties. The resolution also calls Annan to keep the security council informed if his special envoy to the region, James Baker, eventually decides to re-consider the MINURSO mandate.
The UN settlement plan, launched in 1990 with a cease-fire in the former Spanish colonies that Morocco retrieved in 1976 under the Madrid accords, is stumbling on obstacles erected by the Polisario, which is claiming the independence of the territory. The secessionist movement is trying to limit the electorate to sahrawis covered by a 1974 census. Morocco insists that three tribes, which had fled the Spanish repression, should also be included as potential voters in the referendum.
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