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On W. Sahara, Despite AU Letter, Giving In to Morocco on Rights, UN Sloppy?

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, April 22 -- The draft resolution on the UN's MINURSO mission in Western Sahara is penciled in for a vote on April 25.

  But on the morning of April 22, along with saying that the negotiations are bilateral between Morocco and the US, French Permanent Representative Gerard Araud pointed out the real deadline is the end of the month, when the mission's mandate expires.

  But will human rights monitoring be added to the mandates, as it is in nearly all other UN Peacekeeping missions' mandates?

  The African Union, in the letter Inner City Press obtained and published, wants it in. So does POLISARIO, not surprisingly. And, surprising to some, the United States wants or wanted it in.

  We included the two terses of the verb becauase, at least at the end of Monday's consultations, things did not look good. A country one would expect to be in favor of adding right monitoring to the mandate told Inner City Press that “Morocco is totally opposed.”

  So what? There have been resolutions passed 14-1, or by lower numbers as long as French does not, as some report it has vowed not to, veto the resolution.

  But the argument seems to be that with Morocco so vehemently opposed, to include mere monitoring would inflame the situation. This type of deference is not taken to other countries with peacekeeping missions in or beside their territory. So why here?

Unless the Council is addicted to consensus, cannot bear a 14-1 or 13-2 vote, why should it matter so much that Morocco is on the Security Council in 2013, as the second of its two year term?

  And if this is the argument, and rights monitoring might be added in 2014 once Morocco's off the Council, what is supposed to happen this year?

  On the other hand, even the delegation referred to above told Inner City Press that it is its view that the promised referendum must be held. But will it be?

  Meanwhile a reader points out, in terms of the complaints about Ban Ki-moon's UN's disregard of the illegal exploitation of Western Sahara's natural resources, that the UN's Code for Trade and Transportation Locations includes Western Sahara in Morocco.

 AAnd what of the MINURSO license plates? Watch this site.

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