Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Ain't no party like a UN party because a UN party don't stop: UN renews MINURSO, calls for direct negotiations

The UN renewed MINURSO for another six months. The world breathed a sigh of "Eh." It also called for direct negotiations between Polisario and Morocco, which are actually going to happen.

Here's the resolution, courtesy of Sahara-Watch. Morocco didn't really get what it wanted, Polisario didn't really get what it wanted, France and the US didn't get what they wanted, but no one got screwed.

Personally, I'm pleased. It would have been nice if the UNSC would've stepped away from diplomacy-ese for a moment and hammered Morocco's autonomy proposal, but that's as likely as Driss Basri calling for a fair referendum. Plus, I'm kind of fond of MINURSO's general buffoonery.

Now, because it's finals week and I don't get credit for Western Sahara blogging (it's only a pass-fail course) , here's a round-up of what other people said about Western Sahara's big week at the UN:
  • Sahara-Watch, as mentioned above, was bored with the resolution.
  • Western Sahara Info wrote a nice breakdown of who is on whose side in the UNSC.
  • Sahara Views knows that if Algeria ain't happy, ain't nobody happy.
  • Finally, Deadline Pundit (aka Ian Williams), who frequently writes nice things about Western Sahara, writes that the UNSC's television cameras were knocked out when a Polisario representative was speaking. He goes on to say the Western Sahara dispute presents a challenge for international law and the UN, and that Arab states would do well not to set a precedent for annexation if they care about the Palestinians.
All of this still leaves a question unanswered: did MINURSO ever get a secretary?


  1. As for whether negotiations are really going to happen, I'll believe it when I see it. As long as the Polisario refuses to talk about autonomy and Rabat refuses to talk about independence, what are they going to talk about -- the weather?

  2. To break the ice, I suggest that Polisario brings a gallon of camel milk, and the Moroccans a plate of Moroccan yummy couscous.

  3. ...what are they going to talk about -- the weather?

    Well, they're going to have to fix that sooner or later.

    On negotiations, I think Chasli is right and al-Jazeera and Reuters and the UN press staff have it wrong. They've all said the sides are ready to negotiate, based on this resolution. But that they SAY they are ready to negotiate -- and have they, really? -- means nothing. They've been saying that since the mid-80s, but nothing happened until Algeria and the US started twisting arms.

  4. Anonymous11:45 AM

    At Minute 6:10, Inner City Press asks the Polisario's Ahmed Boukhari about France. At Minute 6:18 the screen goes dark.

    Tuesday at the noon briefing, Ban Ki-moon's spokesperson said that this had all been an error. But it remained and remains unclear exactly what happened. Sources tell Inner City Press that during the Polisario's brief on-camera stakeout, an order went out, "Cut this off... cut it." While the order was received by UNTV is the basement, where Ban Ki-moon happened to be filming messages for broadcast overseas, and while the order was eventually transmitted to the crew on the second floor by the Security Council, the order did not originate within UNTV.

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