US President-elect Joe Biden will face a decision whether to accept the US deal with Morocco on the Western Sahara, which no other Western country has done.
Indigenous Sahrawi people react during the funeral of Western Sahara’s Polisario Front leader Mohamed Abdelaziz in Tindouf, Algeria June 3, 2016
(photo credit: REUTERS/RAMZI BOUDINA)
NEW YORK – The UN Security Council is planning to discuss Western Sahara on Monday, diplomats said, after US President Donald Trump recognized Morocco’s sovereignty over the disputed region in return for the kingdom normalizing ties with Israel.
Trump’s announcement last week was a departure from longstanding US policy on Western Sahara. A closed-door UN Security Council meeting on the situation was requested by Germany, diplomats said.
The United States had supported a 1991 ceasefire between Morocco and the Algeria-backed Polisario Front, a breakaway movement that seeks to establish Western Sahara as an independent state. The ceasefire is monitored by UN peacekeepers.
The region has effectively been split by an earthen wall separating an area controlled by Morocco that it claims as its southern provinces, and territory controlled by the Polisario with a UN-mandated buffer zone between them.
UN talks have long failed to broker an agreement on how to decide on self-determination. Morocco wants an autonomy plan under Moroca sovereignty. The Polisario wants a UN-backed referendum including on the question of independence.
US President-elect Joe Biden, due to succeed Trump on Jan. 20, will face a decision whether to accept the US deal with Morocco on the Western Sahara, which no other Western country has done. A Biden spokesman declined to comment.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres “position remains unchanged,” said UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric last week.
“He remains convinced that a solution to the question of Western Sahara is possible, in accordance” UN Security Council resolutions, Dujarric said.
In October, the 15-member Security Council extended the UN peacekeeping mission, known as MINURSO, for a one year, adopting a resolution that “emphasizes the need to achieve a realistic, practicable and enduring political solution to the question of Western Sahara based on compromise.”