The President of the UN Security Council, Ambassador of the Republic of South Africa, Jerry Matjila, confirmed Wednesday, during a press conference after assuming the presidency of the UN Security Council, that “the 1991 decision of ceasefire was based at that in 1992 and 1993 there will be a referendum, but by next year 30 years will have passed and no referendum has taken place, we should admit that we failed the people of Western Sahara and postponed the self-determination further and further away.”
He pointed out that the Polisario Front’s decision to end the ceasefire indicates that there is a problem in the settlement plan, referring to the deadlock in the negotiating process and the appointment of a UN envoy to succeed President Horst Kohler more than a year ago.
In the same context, he expressed his optimism about the attempts last November of the UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, to get three envoys although it was difficult due to their refusal to mediate in this conflict.
The President of the Security Council did not rule out looking into another alternative mechanism, reiterating his confidence in the Secretary-General in his efforts to try to appoint the envoy, hoping that the parties would cease fire and that the United Nations would accomplish its unfulfilled promises to the Sahrawis and hold the self-determination referendum.
Regarding the situation on the ground, he indicated that Western Sahara has witnessed in the past three weeks a very difficult situation in Guerguerat, and the escalation of tension between the Polisario Front and the Moroccan forces around the route that went through that area, expressing his regret at the return to war after three decades, following the Polisario Front had to declare an end to ceasefire, which meant a return to fighting.
In this regard, the President of the Security Council reiterated the position of the African Union and the Secretary-General, calling on the parties to the conflict, Morocco and the Polisario Front, to respect the ceasefire and to return to the pre-agreed front lines, deescalate tension, and then speed up the appointment of a personal envoy of the Secretary-General to overcome the stalemate in the conflict and make progress towards a solution.
Ambassador Jerry Matjila concluded speaking on the question of Western Sahara by expressing hope that the new situation in Western Sahara will make the Security Council take action and push the United Nation to restore its decisions at the General Assembly and the Security Council on the issue of Western Sahara and move towards the referendum in Western Sahara.