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On W. Sahara, AU Writes to UN, Pushing African View not WW2 Carve Up

By Matthew Russell Lee, Exclusive

UNITED NATIONS, April 20 -- The African Union has chimed in on Western Sahara in a letter to Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, reiterating the need for a referendum with independence as an option. (Inner City Press has obtained the AU letter and is putting it online, here.)

  It is this referendum for which the UN mission MINURSO was established, but the UN has failed to hold it.

  This year, the issue is characterized as US versus France and Morocco. The dynamic is colonial, and as regards the France and the US, a matter of the post World War Two card game that divided up the world, a topic which Ban's Secretariat seems to want to keep secret, click here.

  As the African Union letter from chairperson Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma notes, Western Sahara was put on the UN's list of non self governing territories back in 1963. There is a reason for the annual ritual in the UN's Fourth Committee.

  This is one of the UN's biggest failures -- one of many, to be sure, but one of the biggest.

  Click here for the UN's new, but potentially troubling, position expressed this week to Inner City Press on Western Sahara's two (or three?) limb test.

  In recent years, the end of April show down has been between France opposing a human rights mandate for MINURSO, and an African Union member -- Uganda for two years, then South Africa for two -- pushing for it.

  Last year Morocco itself as added to the mix, in the first of its two years on the Security Council. To be fair to Morocco, on other issues from peacekeeping to Gaza it has contributed to the Council's work in the past 16 months.

  This year it is not Togo but Rwanda which is expected to push the African Union position. But there is a problem: as president of the Security Council for April, Rwanda often has to act not in its national or even regional capacity, but as president.

  This coming week on Western Sahara and MINURSO there are consultations on April 22 with the adoption scheduled for April 25, a retreat with Ban Ki-moon (the recipient of the AU's letter) in between.

  Ban Ki-moon was slow in releasing the letter; this is a pattern, on which his Secretariat has now sought the support of its UN Censorship Alliance, here.

  African member states not on the Council have met with UNSC President (and Rwandan Ambassador) Eugene Richard Gasana, bringing the full range of the African (Union) perspective, as one of them exclusively told Inner City Press on Friday. Watch this site.

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