The Personal Envoy of the United Nations Secretary-General to the Sahara, Stephane De Mistura, met with Moroccan officials and Sahrawi leaders in Laayoune on Tuesday.
The meeting was held in a closed-door session at the Municipal Palace. De Mistura was joined by Omar Hilal, the Permanent Representative of the Kingdom of Morocco to the Security Council, as well as elected representatives from the region and Sahrawi tribal sheikhs, according to what MoroccoLatestNews AR received from sources.
In his speech, De Mistura said that he had recently noticed great interaction and interest from the international community in the Sahara conflict. He said that he had also seen many positive signs during his visit to the disputed territories, and that he would be including these in his briefing to the UN Security Council and the Secretary-General in October.
De Mistura also recalled the efforts made by the former personal envoy, Horst Köhler, and the outcomes of the Geneva talks. He described the talks as constructive and credible.
The meeting was also attended by Sidi Hamdi Ould Errachid, President of the Council of the Laayoune-Sakia El Hamra region. In his speech, Errachid said that the talk about the Sahara issue first requires correcting the fallacy related to the “legitimate representation” of the inhabitants of the disputed regions. He said that those present at the meeting were elected representatives who represent the population of the region.
Errachid also confirmed that the care given by King Mohammed VI to these regions has produced real development in the region. He called on De Mistura to undertake a field tour to see the completed projects and those in the process of completion.
Errachid said that the tour would allow De Mistura to “personally verify the development that we always talk about.” He also said that the tax exemption enjoyed by the southern provinces is a sign of Morocco’s commitment to the region.
In response to a question about his opinion on the former UN envoy, Horst Köhler, Ould Errachid said that Köhler “made diligent and serious efforts.” He also said that he would prefer to pose the question to Köhler personally.
The UN mediator, Stefan De Mistura, pledged to include all the observations and recommendations in his briefing. He also indicated that the report of the Secretary-General of the United Nations on the upcoming Sahara file is “new,” without mentioning more details about the subject.