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Polisario’s Limiting MINURSO Visits to Tindouf Camps Prolongs Conflict

UN Secretary General António Guterres expressed concern about the United Nations Mission in the Sahara (MINURSO)’s lack of access to the berms in Tindouf because of visit and flight limitation imposed by Polisario leaders, restricting data collection on the situation in the area and further prolonging the conflict over the Sahara.

In his report to the UN Security Council, Guterres called on the polisario leaders to “remove all remaining restrictions to the free movement of MINURSO and to resume regular, in-person contacts with MINURSO leadership”.

Every year, the UN chief submits a report on the situation in the Sahara to the members of the Security Council, ahead of the MINURSO mandate expiry on Oct. 31, which helps extends the mandate for another year.

Guterres warned in the report, dated Oct. 3, against the occasional hostilities taking place in a demilitarized zone, voicing his conviction that a political solution to the Sahara issue is possible if all parties to the conflict engage in good faith, with the support of international community.

The UN head urged all concerned parties to approach the facilitation by the UNSG personal envoy with an open mind, without setting any preconditions; and invited neighboring states, namely Morocco and Algeria, to re-establish dialogue to promote regional cooperation and create an environment conducive to peace and security.

He also voiced concern over the worsening humanitarian situation in the Tindouf camps, especially after the Covid pandemic and the lack of access of the OHCHR to the territory. He also warned against other threats to food security and access to basic services inside the polisario-run camps.