The role of the United States will be decisive. John Bolton, Donald Trump’s national security adviser, has not forgotten his role as advisor to James Baker when he was the UN envoy for the Sahara from 1997 to 2004. The one who has emerged as the privileged interlocutor of the Trump administration in the Saharawi file is fiercely opposed to the automatic renewal of the mandate of the Minurso.
The latter is no longer, in his eyes, at the service of its very raison d’être: the organization of a referendum. Bolton believes that by prolonging his mandate indefinitely the Security Council has indeed helped to freeze the conflict. The United States has also insisted on reducing the mandate of the mission to six months, putting more pressure on Horst Köhler and the parties involved.
The United States, which has been the rotating presidency of the Security Council since September, has two priorities: to shake Minurso and find a solution to a conflict that has lasted too long. The US administration no longer wants to be content with «managing» the crisis.