United States’ U.N. Proposal and Policy on Western Sahara: A Dead-End?
posted on Thursday, 02 May 2013
by Alex MacKenzie Dustin Dehez
The ‘U.N. Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara’ (MINURSP), a U.N. peacekeeping mission in the disputed territory of the Western Sahara, was extended by the U.N. Security Council for another year after the United States practically abandoned its highly controversial proposal calling for an expansion of the U.N. mission’s mandate to include human rights monitoring. Overall, it is hard to see what tangible and long-term benefits such a U.S. proposal would have brought to the United States, Morocco, and the Maghreb region in general, if the U.S. had been successful in their effort to get its draft resolution through. Moreover, would a new, amended mandate for the U.N. Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO) have unfreezed this protracted conflict or fostered its resolution? In the context of the deep-rooted mistrust between Morocco on the one hand and Algeria and the Polisario Front on the other, it is easy to envision an endless chain of mutual accusations of real or alleged human rights abuses – a scenario that would hardly serve as a good example of an effective confidence-building strategy. The U.S. proposal was also all the more surprising as the terrorist threat is endangering the region more than ever.

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