Western Sahara: UNSG personal envoy wraps up visit to Sahrawi refugee camps, heads to Mauritania

Shahid Al Hafed (Sahrawi Refugee Camps)(SPS) - The UN Secretary-General's Personal Envoy for Western Sahara, Staffan de Mistura, wrapped up, Monday, his visit to the Sahrawi refugee camps, heading to Nouakchott, as part of his first tour to the region.

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Shahid Al Hafed (Sahrawi Refugee Camps)(SPS) – The UN Secretary-General’s Personal Envoy for Western Sahara, Staffan de Mistura, wrapped up, Monday, his visit to the Sahrawi refugee camps, heading to Nouakchott, as part of his first tour to the region.

Mr. de Mistura embarked, Monday, on a visit to Mauritania, as a neighboring and observing country. The UN envoy will continue his first tour in the region which will end on January 19, paying a visit to Algeria as well being a neighboring country and observer, according to the joint settlement plan between the United Nations and the Organization of African Unity (currently the African Union) and the relevant resolutions of the Security Council.

Earlier, President of the Sahrawi Republic, Secretary-General of the Polisario Front, Brahim Ghali, received the personal envoy of the UN Secretary-General for Western Sahara. The meeting took place in the presence of the representative of the Polisario at the United Nations, in charge of coordination with MINURSO, Dr. Sidi Mohamed Omar.

Mr. Staffan de Mistura, accompanied by a UN delegation, arrived Saturday in the Sahrawi refugee camps in Smara, as part of his first tour in the region since his appointment last November, where he received popular welcome in the wilaya of Smara.

As part of his visit to the Sahrawi refugee camps, UN envoy Staffan de Mistura paid visits to a range of health, educational and social structures of the Sahrawi state.

De Mistura held, also, meetings with SADR and Polisario Front officials.

Do note that United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres appointed 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 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 Under secretary of State for Foreign Affairs and thereafter Deputy Foreign Minister in Italy.

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