Kohler Shows Commitment to Keep Western Sahara Negotiations Under UN Auspices

Nasser Bourita and Horst Kohler

In a written briefing presented to the United Nations Security Council, Personal Envoy Horst Kohler emphasized that only the UN has the legitimacy “to lead the political process” to reach a consensual solution in the Western Sahara conflict.

In paragraph 12 of the first section of the briefing presented to the Security Council, Kohler reaffirmed the UN commitment to keep the Western Sahara settlement process under the auspices of the United Nations, according to Le360.

The UN official echoed a promise he made in a meeting held with the Moroccan delegation on March 6 in Lisbon. During the meeting, Kohler reiterated his intention to “limit the Sahara issue exclusively to the United Nations.” In recent months, the Personal Envoy held meetings with international parties, involving them in the conflict.

In January, Kohler held talks with AU Commission chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat in Addis Ababa about the conflict.

The UNSG Envoy also met with Rwanda’s President, Paul Kagame, who is also the President of the African Union. Kohler’s meetings with the African leaders came after his official meeting with the EU’s High Representative Federica Mogherini, on January 9, in Brussels.

On March 17, Kohler also met with Swedish Social Democratic politician Margot Elisabeth Wallstrom to discuss the Western Sahara conflict. Moroccan diplomacy has repeatedly emphasizing that the UN is the only body that has the right to lead the settlement process.

To reaffirm his promise before the Moroccan delegation, Kohler mentioned the security council 2351 Resolution in his report, noting that “it is up to the UN to lead the political process” to find a solution to the four-decade-long conflict.

He added that all of the African Union’s officials–Paul Kagame, Moussa Faki Mahamat and the European Union High Representative Federica Mogherini–have “without exception expressed support for my efforts to help find a solution to the conflict.”

In paragraph 15 of the first of the report, Kohler pointed out that his role in the conflict is not that of a referee, but rather is to assist parties to negotiate a “political solution” to end the conflict.

Horst Kohler stressed the resumption of negotiations “on the basis of realism and the spirit of compromise.” “I expect the parties to be realistic and willing to compromise,” he said.

The UNSG personal envoy made no comments on the ruling of the European Court of Justice (ECJ) regarding the EU-Morocco Fisheries Agreement, issued on February 27, as the issue has relevance to the UN-led political process.

On Wednesday, the Security Council expressed “full support” for Kohler’s efforts, welcoming his recent bilateral meetings with the parties to the conflict, which aim to relaunch the negotiation process with a new dynamic