Bir-Lahlou, May 25, 2019 (SPS) – Coordinator with UN Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO), Foreign Relations Officer at the National Secretariat of the POLISARIO Front, Emhamed Khaddad, confirmed that other factors besides the health situation had an impact on the decision of the UN Secretary-General’s Personal Envoy for Western Sahara, Horst Koehler, to resign from mediation two years after he assumed the mission in August 2017.
The Sahrawi official, in an interview with the Russian Sputnik news agency, praised the UN envoy for having the qualities and skills needed to succeed in his mission, including his diplomatic experience and knowledge of the African continent and its problems, reflected in his insistence on involving the African Union and the European Union in conflict resolution In Western Sahara «through his visits to Addis Ababa, Kigali, and Brussels on two or three occasions.»
The Sahrawi Official added, «The UN Secretary-General’s Personal Envoy has faced many obstacles in his mission, both at the UN and EU levels, France has always been behind the obstruction of Mr. Kohler’s efforts, evidenced during the meetings of the Security Council on the mandate of the MINURSO, or exerting great pressure on the European Union to sign new agreements between the EU and Morocco in the field of «agriculture and fishing» and the violation of the decisions of the European Court of Justice of 2016 and 2018, which had already recognized that Morocco had no sovereignty over Western Sahara.
The Sahrawi Coordinator with MINURSO explained that Mr. Kohler, after two years of work, found himself without the unanimous support of the Security Council or the European Union, as well as systematic undermining by Morocco to prevent the African Union from playing its part in resolving this long-running conflict.
He concluded by paying tribute to Mr. Koehler’s efforts, which he exerted under considerable pressure from some members of the Security Council, refusing to manipulate him against the legitimate rights of the Sahrawi people, especially those relating to self-determination and independence.
It is worth mentioning that former German President Horst Koehler, 76, was appointed by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterich as his personal envoy for Western Sahara in August 2017. He succeeded US Ambassador Christopher Ross, who had resigned after serving 8 years on the UN mediation mission. (SPS)