Algeria notes “with interest” appointment of UN envoy for Western Sahara

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Algiers, 7 October 2021 (SPS) – Algeria has noted with interest the decision of the United Nations Secretary General to appoint Staffan De Mistura as personal envoy for Western Sahara and will support his efforts for the effective reopening of direct negotiations between the two sides to the conflict, Morocco and the Polisario Front, the spokesman of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and National Community Abroad said on Wednesday.

“Algeria notes with interest the decision of the UN Secretary General to appoint Staffan De Mistura as special envoy for the Western Sahara,” said the spokesman in his statement.

“While deeply deploring the delay, attributable to the Moroccan side, for the replacement of his predecessor Horst Kohler, who resigned in May 2019, Algeria notes that the appointment of De Mistura occurs in a sharply deteriorated and risky context, marked by the resumption of hostilities following the brutal violation of the ceasefire by the forces of the Moroccan occupation which are illegally staying, since 13 November 2020, in the buffer zone of El Guerguerat, in blatant breach of the military agreements, signed by the two sides and endorsed by the Security Council,” he added.

“The demilitarization of this zone, enshrined by the agreements in question, is the cornerstone of every credible political process aimed at reaching a peaceful solution to the conflict,” according to the official.

“Algeria praises the recognized and appreciated personal and professional qualities of De Mistura,” he said, stressing that it “will support his efforts” and “expresses the wish that they could contribute to an effective and serious reopening of direct negotiations, in good faith and without prerequisites, between the two parties to the conflict, namely the Kingdom of Morocco and the Polisario Front, in order to reach a solution guaranteeing to Western Sahara’s people to freely and authentically exercise their inalienable right to self- determination.”

“This approach favoring direct and frank talks, without any prerequisites, between the two sides is part of the faithfulness and compliance with the decision adopted in March 2021 by the summit of the AU Peace and Security Council,” he added.

United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres announced the appointment of Staffan de Mistura of Italy as his Personal Envoy for Western Sahara.

The new Personal Envoy succeeds Horst Köhler of Germany, who completed his assignment on 22 May 2019 and to whom the Secretary‑General is grateful for his steadfast and intensive efforts which laid the foundation for a new momentum in the political process on Western Sahara.

Mr. de Mistura will provide good offices on behalf of the Secretary‑General. He will work with all relevant interlocutors, including the parties, neighbouring countries and other stakeholders, guided by Security Council resolution 2548 (2020) and other relevant resolutions.

Mr. de Mistura brings more than 40 years of experience in diplomacy and political affairs. During his career with the United Nations, he served as Special Envoy of the Secretary‑General for Syria, providing good offices aimed at promoting a peaceful solution to the Syrian crisis. Prior appointments include Special Representative of the Secretary‑General for Afghanistan and for Iraq, Personal Representative of the Secretary‑General for Southern Lebanon and Director of the United Nations Information Centre in Rome. He also served the Organization in various posts in Somalia, Sudan, Ethiopia, Viet Nam and the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, among others.

In addition to his service with the United Nations, he was appointed Undersecretary of State for Foreign Affairs and thereafter Deputy Foreign Minister in Italy.

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