Security Council Resolution S/RES/1185
The Security Council voted the extension for two months - until Sept. 21 -of its operation in the Western Sahara to give the United Nations time to see if it was still possible to carry out a referendum on the future of the former Spanish colony.
If the pace of identification continues, MINURSO should be able to complete during August the identification of all applicants from all Saharan tribes, except members of three tribal groupings whose eligibility remains in dispute.
The council calls for a prompt conclusion of status-of-forces agreements of Morocco with the UN in order to facilitate the deployment of the military engineering support and demining unit. It also "calls for the lifting of any restriction imposed on MINURSO aircraft or on passengers whose travel the MINURSO determines to be of assistance to the fulfilment of the mandate".
The council requested the U.N. chief to report to it every 30 days from the date of extension of the mandate of the MINURSO on the progress of the implementation of the Settlement Plan and the agreements reached between the parties, and to keep it regularly informed of all significant developments in the interim period.
Nancy Soderberg, the envoy who handles African matters for the United States at the United Nations, said in a statement the council did not intend to extend the force past September unless it was confident outstanding voter issues had been resolved. She noted that former U.S. Secretary of State James Baker, who also serves as Annan's special envoy to the Western Sahara, believed the current U.N. operation represented the last, best chance for the parties to end the dispute. Should there be agreement on who could vote, the council intends to send more troops to supervise the process.
The United Nations has opened a new center in Meknes (central Morocco) to identify would-be voters in the self-determination referendum that the U.N. plans to hold in the Sahara.The new center receives identification applications from Moroccan Sahrawis residing in the provinces of Fez, Boulmane, Taza, Al-Huceima, Meknes, Tafilalet and other provinces.(MAP)
US House of Representatives: Humanitarian De-mining in WS must start now
Back from a recent visit in the Saharawi refugee camps near Tindouf, Mr Joseph Pitts in a declaration at the US House of Representatives said he was deeply impressed with the strenght and determination these people showed in their ability to survive in the midst of such harst environment. Speaking about the Moroccan obstruction, denying the Swedish de-mining contingent the use of their equipment, he urged the Kingdom of Morocco to review its position as requested by the UN.
A National Committee for the return of A. Serfaty in his homeland organized a protest sit-in in front of the Human Rights Ministry in Rabat. About 150 manifestants, in majority former political prisoners, chanted slogans in favour of the return of the Moroccan opponent and against "Makhzen".
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