France signaled on Friday it would push to modify a U.S. proposal to the United Nations to allow U.N. peacekeepers to monitor human rights in the disputed Western Sahara before deciding which way it would vote.
The dispute, dating back to 1975, pits Morocco, which says the Western Sahara is its territory, against the Algeria-backed Polisario Front, which says it is an independent state.
Morocco and France, its former colonial master, have resisted the idea that the peacekeepers should report on rights abuses in Western Sahara, a sparsely populated tract of desert that has phosphates, fisheries and, potentially, oil and gas.
The U.S. draft resolution to the Security Council, designed to extend the mandate of the U.N. mission in Western Sahara for another year, was circulated this week to the so-called Group of Friends on Western Sahara, which includes the United States, France, Spain, Britain and Russia.
“It (modifying the text) is one of the possible options and the object of discussions taking place,” French Foreign Ministry spokesman Philippe Lalliot told reporters. “We are not at the stage today to say whether we will vote for or against it.”
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has warned that the conflict in Mali, where France deployed troops and air power to oust Islamist rebels, threatens to spill into Western Sahara, with the possibility of infiltration by foreign militants.
Paris may have decided to soften its position given the crisis in Mali. Indeed, President Francois Hollande, in a trip to Morocco at the start of the month, said the situation in the Sahel region meant that there was “greater urgency” to resolve the Western Sahara problem.
نستخدم ملفات الكوكيز لنسهل عليك استخدام مواقعنا الإلكترونية ونكيف المحتوى والإعلانات وفقا لمتطلباتك واحتياجاتك الخاصة، لتوفير ميزات وسائل التواصل الاجتماعية ولتحليل حركة المرور لدينا...اعرف أكثر