Posted by: APO | 29 January 2008

Report of the Secretary-General on the status and progress of the negotiations on Western Sahara

United Nations S/2008/45

Security Council

Distr.: General

25 January 2008

Original: English

08-21409 (E) 280108

*0821409*

 

Report of the Secretary-General on the status and progress of the negotiations on Western Sahara

 

I. Introduction

1. The present report is submitted pursuant to Security Council resolution 1783

(2007), by which the Council called upon the parties to continue to show political

will and work in an atmosphere propitious for dialogue in order to engage in

substantive negotiations, thus ensuring implementation of resolution 1754 (2007)

and the success of negotiations. The Council also called upon the parties to continue

negotiations under my auspices, without preconditions and in good faith, taking into

account the efforts made since 2006 and developments of the past months, with a

view to achieving a just, lasting and mutually acceptable political solution, which

would provide for the self-determination of the people of Western Sahara in the

context of arrangements consistent with the principles and purposes of the Charter

of the United Nations, and noting the role and responsibilities of the parties in that

respect. In the same resolution, the Council requested me to provide a report by

31 January 2008 on the status and progress of the negotiations under my auspices,

and expressed its intention to meet to receive and discuss the report. The present

report covers developments since the issuance of my report dated 19 October 2007

(S/2007/619).

II. Status and progress of the negotiations

2. Pursuant to Security Council resolution 1783 (2007), in letters dated

4 December 2007, I invited the parties, Morocco and the Frente Polisario para la

Liberación de Saguía el-Hamra y de Río de Oro (Frente Polisario), to send

delegations to a meeting to be facilitated by my Personal Envoy, Peter van Walsum,

at the Greentree Estate in Manhasset, New York, from 7 to 9 January 2008. In my

letters, it was specified that the discussions would be private and that the purpose of

the meeting was to continue the process of negotiations started with the meetings

held in Manhasset on 18 and 19 June 2007 and on 10 and 11 August 2007. In similar

letters, I invited Algeria and Mauritania to attend the Manhasset meeting as

neighbouring countries.

3. The meeting was held at the Greentree Estate from 7 to 9 January 2008, as

planned. The parties held separate meetings with my Personal Envoy, as well as

several sessions of face-to-face discussions. Representatives of the neighbouring

S/2008/45

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countries, Algeria and Mauritania, were present at the opening and closing sessions

and were consulted separately during the meeting.

4. In opening the meeting, my Personal Envoy underlined that the Security

Council expected the parties to negotiate in good faith and show political will in

order to enter into substantive discussions and ensure the success of the

negotiations. During the opening session and subsequent discussions, the parties

reiterated their commitment to the process of negotiations and to the implementation

of Security Council resolutions 1754 (2007) and 1783 (2007). Nevertheless, their

stated positions remained far apart on ways to achieve a just, lasting and mutually

acceptable political solution that will provide for the self-determination of the

people of Western Sahara. As a result, although the parties dynamically interacted

with each other, there was hardly any exchange that could be characterized as

negotiations.

5. During the meeting, the parties engaged in an extensive exchange of views

with regard to the implementation of Security Council resolutions 1754 (2007) and

1783 (2007). In addition, as already announced in my report to the Security Council

of 19 October 2007 (S/2007/619), the matter of confidence-building measures was

included on the agenda in order to obtain greater clarity as to the positions of the

parties on existing or additional measures, as well as on the appropriate forum for

discussing such measures. The parties also participated in discussions on thematic

subjects related to administration: competences and organs. Although the parties

adequately replied to queries raised by my Personal Envoy, seeking clarifications on

their respective proposals relative to those thematic subjects, and in a certain

measure interacted with each other, they did not examine specific elements included

in each other’s proposals.

6. With regard to the way forward in the process, I am pleased to inform the

Council that, during the meeting, the parties welcomed the intention of my Personal

Envoy to visit the region shortly afterwards for in-depth consultations, and agreed to

convene again from 11 to 13 March 2008 at the Greentree Estate, New York, for a

fourth round of talks.

7. At the end of the meeting, the parties agreed to the communiqué of my

Personal Envoy, contained in the annex to the present report, in which they

reiterated their commitment to show political will and negotiate in good faith, as

called for by the Security Council, and agreed on the need to move the process into

a more intensive and substantive phase of negotiations.

S/2008/45

08-21409 3

Annex

[Original: English and French]

Communiqué of the Personal Envoy of the Secretary-General for

Western Sahara (in agreement with the parties), Greentree Estate,

9 January 2008

Representatives of Morocco and the Frente Polisario met under United Nations

auspices at the Greentree Estate on 8 and 9 January 2008, in continuation of their

discussions aimed at finding a mutually acceptable solution to the impasse in the

conflict on Western Sahara. As was the case in the previous rounds of talks,

representatives of the neighbouring countries, Algeria and Mauritania, were also

present at the opening and closing sessions and were consulted separately during the

talks.

The discussions focused on the implementation of Security Council resolutions

1754 (2007) and 1783 (2007). During the two days of discussions, the parties

continued to express strong differences on the fundamental questions at stake. At the

same time, the parties reiterated their commitment to show political will and

negotiate in good faith, as called for by the Security Council, and agreed on the need

to move the process into a more intensive and substantive phase of negotiations.

In addition, the parties discussed but did not agree on confidence-building

measures. They also had preliminary discussions on thematic subjects such as

administration, competences and organs.

With regard to the next steps in the process, the parties agreed to convene from

11 to 13 March 2008 at the Greentree Estate, New York, for a fourth round of talks.

In order to help prepare the groundwork for those discussions, the parties welcomed

my intention to visit the region shortly for in-depth consultations.


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