19 February 2002
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1. The present report is submitted pursuant to Security Council resolution 1380 (2001) of 27 November 2001, by which the Council, taking note of my letter to the President of the Security Council dated 12 November 2001 (S/2001/1067), extended the mandate of the United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO) until 28 February 2002. The Council also reaffirmed its resolution 1359 (2001) of 29 June 2001 and its previous resolutions on the question of Western Sahara, and requested me to keep the Council informed of all significant developments in an interim report by 15 January. The Council requested me to provide an assessment of the situation and, as appropriate, recommendations on the future mandate and composition of the mission. The present report covers developments since my interim report to the Council, dated 10 January 2002 (S/2002/41).
II. Activities of the Personal Envoy of the Secretary-General
2. On 24 and 25 January 2002, my Personal Envoy, James A. Baker III, visited Morocco, where he was received twice by His Majesty King Mohammed VI and high-level government officials. The purpose of the visit of my Personal Envoy was to inform the Moroccan authorities of the rejection by Algeria and the Frente POLISARIO of the draft framework agreement, as had been reiterated to him by the President of Algeria, Abdelaziz Bouteflika, during his visit to the James Baker Institute in Houston, Texas, on 2 November 2001, and that, in the view of my Personal Envoy, Algeria and the Frente POLISARIO would be prepared to discuss or negotiate a division of the Territory as a political solution to the dispute over Western Sahara.
3. During his visit to the region, my Personal Envoy took the opportunity to pay a short visit to the MINURSO headquarters in Laayoune, where he met with my recently appointed Special Representative, William Lacy Swing.
III. Developments on the ground
A. Activities of my Special Representative
4. Following his introductory meetings with Moroccan Government authorities at Rabat and the Frente POLISARIO leadership in the Tindouf area, my Special Representative also made his introductory visit to Algiers from 14 to 17 January, where he met with President Bouteflika and senior members of the Government of Algeria. While in Algiers, he also met with officials from the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the World Food Programme (WFP), who are implementing humanitarian assistance programmes in the Tindouf refugee camps. On 27 January, he met in Casablanca with a delegation of senior UNHCR officials to discuss cross-border confidence-building measures.
5. Subsequently, on 17 January, my Special Representative visited the Tindouf area where he met with the Secretary-General of the Frente POLISARIO, Mohamed Abdelaziz, and other members of the Frente POLISARIO leadership. He had several meetings in Laayoune with the Moroccan Coordinator with MINURSO. These contacts are part of my Special Representative's effort to maintain a pattern of regular contacts with the parties.
6. On 13 and 14 February, my Special Representative made his introductory visit to Nouakchott, where he met with the President of Mauritania, Maaouya Ould Sid' Ahmed Taya, and other senior government officials, as well as the UNHCR representative in Mauritania.
B. Appeals process
7. Since my last report to the Council (S/2002/41), the Identification Commission has reduced its staff to a total of 40. It has continued to consolidate and collate all data on applicants to the referendum, collected during their identification and the submission of appeals. The Commission proceeded with the electronic archiving of individual files. As at 31 January 2002, the total number of files electronically archived in both the Territory and the Tindouf area exceeded 43,000. The Commission has also initiated a technical review of the logistical requirements in the event of a resumption of the appeals process.
C. Military aspects
8. As at 7 February 2002, the military component of MINURSO stood at the authorized strength of 230 military personnel (see annex). Under the command of Brigadier General Claude Buze (Belgium), the component continued to monitor the ceasefire between the Royal Moroccan Army and the Frente POLISARIO military forces, which has been in effect since 6 September 1991. It is important to reiterate that since the entry into effect of the ceasefire, and the establishment of MINURSO, there has been no resumption of hostilities between the parties, and no indication on the ground that either side intends to resume them in the near future. The contribution of MINURSO to the maintenance of the ceasefire has been significant.
9. During the reporting period, MINURSO continued discussions with the Frente POLISARIO, at various levels, with a view to easing or lifting the restrictions which have been imposed by the latter on the freedom of movement of United Nations military observers east of the defensive sandwall (berm) since January 2001. As already reported to the Security Council (see S/2001/148, S/2001/398, S/2001/613 and S/2002/41), MINURSO ground patrols are usually not allowed closer than 800 metres to Frente POLISARIO combat units or observation posts, and are required to be escorted at all times by Frente POLISARIO liaison officers, who exercise de facto control of the patrols' movements. Large tracts of land south and east of the MINURSO team site at Agwanit are still out of bounds for the United Nations. MINURSO air reconnaissance remains limited to the 30-kilometre restricted area immediately east of the berm and has to follow air routes approved by the Frente POLISARIO. Despite the efforts of MINURSO, no significant progress can be reported towards lifting those restrictions. I call on the Security Council to join me in requesting the Frente POLISARIO to lift the restrictions without delay.
10. On the western side of the berm, MINURSO military patrols continued to visit and inspect Royal Moroccan Army ground units larger than company size, in accordance with the ceasefire arrangements between MINURSO and the Royal Moroccan Army.
11. As the Council will recall, in April and May 2001, Moroccan military authorities had begun preparations for the construction of an asphalted road in the Guerguerat area of Western Sahara, at the southwestern tip of the Territory, towards the Mauritanian border. Morocco subsequently suspended this activity at the request of several Member States and MINURSO. MINURSO has since conducted regular air and ground reconnaissance in the area (the last air reconnaissance was performed on 26 January 2002 and the last ground reconnaissance on 1 February 2002), but has found no signs of further roadwork being conducted in the area.
D. Civilian police aspects
12. As at 7 February 2002, the strength of the civilian police component of MINURSO stood at 25 officers (see annex), under the command of Inspector General Om Prakash Rathor (India). The civilian police officers continued to perform protective duties with regard to files and sensitive materials at the Identification Commission centres at Laayoune and Tindouf. Training activities, such as briefings by the UNHCR liaison office in Laayoune, continued on the protection content of voluntary repatriation and on international instruments concerning refugees.
E. Preparatory work for the repatriation of the Saharan refugees
13. During the reporting period, UNHCR continued to carry out its mandated responsibilities for the Western Saharan refugees in the Tindouf camps and to coordinate with MINURSO. A senior UNHCR delegation visited the region from 26 January to 2 February 2002 to discuss, after consulting with MINURSO, with Morocco, the Frente POLISARIO, and Algeria, the issue of cross-border confidencebuilding measures for Saharan refugees. The Government of Morocco assured the UNHCR delegation that it was in principle prepared to accept the proposals made by UNHCR, provided that the implementation modalities were agreed upon at a later stage. The Frente POLISARIO reiterated its position that the implementation of these activities should be carried out only within the context of the settlement plan (S/21360 and S/22464 and Corr. 1). The Government of Algeria, while reiterating its support of the settlement plan, reaffirmed its full cooperation with UNHCR, in particular for the planned implementation of cross-border confidence-building measures, provided that the refugees agreed to it.
14. On 26 January 2002, UNHCR held consultations with the Government of Algerian, WFP, the European Commission Humanitarian Aid Office (ECHO), and its implementing partners to address issues of mutual concern regarding the implementation of its programme in 2002. Owing to financial constraints, the frequent shortages in basic food commodities for Saharan refugees continued to be a major concern for UNHCR. To address this issue, at a meeting it organized together with WFP in Algiers on 29 January 2002, UNHCR launched an appeal for funds sufficient to cover an expected three-month gap in food supplies, pending WFP food shipments. A joint WFP-UNHCR food assessment mission, accompanied by representatives of the host Government and donor countries, visited the Tindouf camps from 1 to 7 February 2002. From 22 to 26 January 2002, UNHCR had conducted another fact-finding mission to monitor the Saharan refugee situation in northern Mauritania.
15. The food shortages faced by Saharan refugees in the Tindouf camps is also a matter of great concern. I once again appeal to the international community to provide generous support to UNHCR and WFP in order to help them overcome the deteriorating food situation among the refugees. I also strongly appeal to Morocco and the Frente POLISARIO to agree without further delay to fully collaborate with UNHCR in the implementation of the long-overdue confidencebuilding measures, as initially called for by the Security Council in its resolution 1238 (1999) and then in subsequent resolutions.
F. Prisoners of war, persons unaccounted for and detainees
16. As the Council will recall, on 2 January the Frente POLISARIO announced the release of 115 of the 1,477 Moroccan prisoners of war it was holding. Those prisoners of war were repatriated under the auspices of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) on 17 January. This action, together with the effort by Morocco to account for some former Frente POLISARIO combatants unaccounted for and the amnesty it granted in November 2001 to 25 Saharan detainees, are steps in the right direction. If continued and accelerated, these gestures will help to bring the parties closer to finally resolving these matters of urgent humanitarian concern.
17. In the meantime, I have asked my Special Representative to maintain regular and close contact with all the parties and to continue to provide assistance to ICRC and UNHCR in the performance of their vital humanitarian tasks. In this regard, I wish to remind the Council that, to date, some 1,362 Moroccan prisoners of war remain held in connection with the Western Sahara conflict, most of them for more than 20 years. More than 10 years after the entry into effect of the ceasefire, their release is long overdue, both under international humanitarian law and commitments that the parties undertook in this regard. It is my hope that members of the Council will once again join me in calling on the Frente POLISARIO to release without further delay all remaining prisoners of war. It is also my hope that both parties will continue to cooperate with the efforts of ICRC to resolve the problem of the fate of all those unaccounted for since the beginning of the conflict.
G. Organization of African Unity
18. The observer delegation of the Organization of African Unity (OAU) to MINURSO, led by the senior representative of the Organization, Ambassador Yilma Tadesse (Ethiopia), continues to provide valuable support and cooperation to the Mission. I wish to reiterate my sincere appreciation for this contribution.
IV. Other developments
19. On 29 January 2002, the Legal Counsel responded to a letter addressed to him on 13 November 2001 by the President of the Security Council requesting, on behalf of the members of the Council, his opinion on the legality of contracts off-shore Western Sahara concluded by Morocco with foreign oil companies (S/2002/161). In a letter addressed to me, dated 1 February 2002, the Permanent Representative of Algeria expressed his views on this issue (S/2002/144). The representative of the Frente POLISARIO in New York addressed two letters on the same subject to the President of the Security Council on 7 and 18 February, and the Permanent Representative of Morocco expressed his views in his letter of 8 February addressed to the President of the Security Council (S/2002/153).
20. On 24 December 2001, Saharan detainees started a three-week-long hunger strike in the Laayoune prison. Following a series of measures taken by Moroccan authorities to reduce prison overcrowding, including the transfer of detainees to other penitentiaries, the hunger strike subsided. Some Saharan detainees resumed their hunger strike on 24 January, but suspended it again within two days.
V. Financial aspects
21. The General Assembly, by its resolution 55/262 of 14 June 2001, appropriated the amount of $48.8 million, equivalent to a monthly rate of some $4.1 million, for the maintenance of MINURSO for the period from 1 July 2001 to 30 June 2002. In connection with the reduction of personnel in the Identification Commission, as well as other related cost reductions, I shall continue to reassess the resource requirements of the Mission and revert to the General Assembly with consequential adjustments, if necessary.
22. As at 31 January 2002, unpaid assessed contributions to the special account for MINURSO amounted to $60,973,553. The total outstanding assessed contributions for all peacekeeping operations at that date amounted to $2,165,678,953.
VI. Assessment of progress and problems since the appointment of my Personal Envoy
23. In my report of 20 June 2001 to the Security Council (S/2001/613), I described in some detail the difficulties that the United Nations had encountered over the past 10 years in its effort to implement the settlement plan, which has resulted in repeated breakdowns in the identification process. After a particularly long impasse in the process, which had lasted from the end of 1995 to the beginning of 1997, upon assuming my functions as Secretary-General I appointed James A. Baker III as my Personal Envoy in March 1997, and asked him to reassess the feasibility of implementing the settlement plan. After a tour of the region, during which he met with the leadership of the two parties and the neighbouring countries, Mr. Baker informed me that, despite the difficulties and delays in the process, neither side had indicated any willingness to pursue any political solution other than the implementation of the settlement plan.
24. My Personal Envoy believed that the only realistic way to assess the feasibility of implementing the plan would be by arranging direct talks between the parties. He was, however, aware that previous efforts by the United Nations over the years to organize such direct talks had not succeeded, mainly because of the reluctance of the Government of Moroccan to meet face-to-face with the Frente POLISARIO.
25. When the parties met directly in Lisbon on 23 June 1997, it was the first time in many years that they did so to discuss matters of substance. That meeting lasted only one day as it became apparent that both sides had problems accepting the proposal submitted by my Personal Envoy to bridge their differences on resuming the identification process and both needed to consult with their principals before responding. This was a pattern that was to be repeated during the three other successive rounds of direct talks in 1997. None of the rounds lasted longer than a day and a half, as the parties exhibited great reluctance to agree to the bridging proposals aimed at resolving their differences on the issues separating them and hindering the implementation of the settlement plan. They needed to break away and meet their principals before returning to the next round with requests for modifications to the proposals. Nevertheless, through the hard work and perseverance of my Personal Envoy and his team, agreement was reached on all issues separating the parties, and during the last round, held at Houston, Texas, from 14 to 16 September 1997, the Houston agreements, allowing for the resumption of the identification process and therefore the implementation of the settlement plan, came into effect.
26. Paragraphs 27 to 29 of my June 2001 report (S/2001/613) describe the difficulties encountered in carrying out and concluding the identification process and enumerate the remaining key unresolved issues of the settlement plan, even after the conclusion of the Houston agreements. As the report points out, since the conclusion of the identification process at the end of 1999, MINURSO has been facing a total of 131,038 appeals, with an appeals process that promises to be even lengthier and more cumbersome and contentious than the identification itself.
27. In view of these developments, early in 2000 I asked my Personal Envoy to undertake new consultations with the parties and neighbouring countries. After a visit to the region from 8 to 11 April, when he undertook preliminary contacts with all concerned, my Personal Envoy informed me that he needed to organize another face-to-face meeting between the parties in order to consider the problems in the implementation of the settlement plan (S/21360 and S/22464 and Corr.1) and the Houston agreements (S/1997/742, annexes I-III), as well as to explore other possible approaches.
28. The first of three such meetings in 2000 was held in London on 14 May. The neighbouring countries, Algeria and Mauritania, also attended. The meeting proved to be inconclusive in resolving the problems separating the parties. At the end, my Personal Envoy invited the parties to come forward at the next meeting with concrete solutions to the multiple problems of the settlement plan that they could both agree to, or else, be prepared to discuss other ways to achieve an early, durable and agreed resolution of their dispute over Western Sahara.
29. During the second meeting, held in London on 28 June 2000, each party identified areas, mainly concerning the appeals process and the repatriation of refugees, that in its view presented difficulties with respect to the implementation of the plan. However, neither party offered specific proposals to resolve the multiple problems of the settlement plan that both parties could agree to. In addition, my Personal Envoy indicated that, in his view, other issues remained unresolved, such as enforcement of the results of the referendum, release of prisoners of war and Saharan political detainees and possible problems relating to the implementation of the code of conduct for the referendum campaign.
30. In addition, my Personal Envoy expressed concern that the parties had so far failed to negotiate these problems because of the high level of animosity existing between them. In his view, neither party had shown any disposition to depart from the "winner-takeall" mentality or appeared willing to discuss any possible political solutions in which each could get some, but not all, of what it wanted and would allow the other side to do the same. After asking the parties again for concrete proposals to bridge their differences and receiving none, my Personal Envoy expressed the view that the meeting, instead of resolving problems, had in fact moved things backwards, as it had deepened the differences between the parties.
31. Nevertheless, he considered that a political solution was achievable only through direct dialogue between the parties, and asked them to meet again in order to try to arrive at a political solution. It was repeated to the parties that, should they agree to discuss a political solution other than the settlement plan, they would not prejudice their final positions since, according to the rules of the consultations, nothing would be agreed to until everything had been agreed to.
32. The third meeting between the parties under the auspices of my Personal Envoy was held in Berlin on 28 September 2000. During a discussion on the status of the settlement plan, the two parties reiterated their differing positions; both, however, pledged their cooperation with the United Nations. My Personal Envoy pointed out to the parties that he had been hearing the same arguments and pledges of cooperation since 1997 and expressed scepticism about the validity of such pledges.
33. He recalled that, at the start of the meeting, he had asked the parties whether they had come with new positions on any issue. He felt that there was no political will on either side to move forward. He reiterated that there were many ways to achieve selfdetermination. It could be achieved through war or revolution; it could be achieved through elections, but this required good will; or it could be achieved through agreement, as had been done by parties to other disputes. When asked by my Personal Envoy whether they would be willing to try the latter route without abandoning the settlement plan, both parties reiterated their commitment to the plan. They expressed fundamental differences and perceptions as to its correct implementation, however.
34. My Personal Envoy then suggested that the parties explore ways to move the appeals process forward, as the Frente POLISARIO wished, and at the same time search for a mutually acceptable political solution, as the Security Council had requested in resolution 1309 (2000). The Moroccan delegation pointed out that the question of appeals had been extensively covered and was exhausted. In Morocco's view, that issue was deadlocked, not on technicalities, but on principles.
35. My Personal Envoy then asked the parties whether, without abandoning the settlement plan, they would be willing to pursue a political solution that might or might not be confirmed by a later referendum. The Frente POLISARIO responded that it was not ready to discuss anything outside the settlement plan. For its part, the Moroccan delegation stated that it was prepared to initiate a sincere and frank dialogue with the Frente POLISARIO, with the assistance of my Personal Envoy, to work out a lasting and definitive solution that would take account of Morocco's sovereignty and territorial integrity, and the specifics of the region, in compliance with the democratic and decentralization principles that Morocco wished to develop and apply, beginning with the Saharan region.
36. The Frente POLISARIO rejected the Moroccan proposal and reiterated that it would cooperate and adhere to any dialogue that would be within the framework of the settlement plan.
37. At the conclusion of those consultations, my Personal Envoy was of the view, which I shared, that further meetings of the parties to seek a political solution could not succeed, and indeed could be counterproductive, unless the Government of Morocco as administrative power in Western Sahara was prepared to offer or support some devolution of governmental authority, for all inhabitants and former inhabitants of the Territory, that would be genuine, substantial and in keeping with international norms.
38. It was almost six months later, during the spring of 2001, that my Personal Envoy was able to determine that Morocco as administrative power in Western Sahara was prepared to support a draft framework agreement (S/2001/613, annex I) on the status of Western Sahara which envisaged a devolution of authority to the inhabitants of the Territory with final status to be determined by a referendum five years later. Once he ascertained the willingness of the Government of Morocco to support the draft framework agreement, my Personal Envoy presented it to the Government of Algeria and to the Frente POLISARIO. The Security Council had an opportunity to see for itself the views of the Government of Algeria and the Frente POLISARIO, which were annexed to my report (S/2001/613, annexes II and IV).
39. In view of the strong reservations expressed by the Government of Algeria and the unwillingness of the Frente POLISARIO to consider the draft framework agreement, the Security Council in its resolution 1359 (2001) supported my proposal to invite all the parties to meet directly or through proximity talks under the auspices of my Personal Envoy to discuss the framework agreement and to negotiate any specific changes that they would like to see in it. The Council also encouraged the parties to discuss any other proposal for a political solution, which might be put forward by the parties, to arrive at a mutually acceptable agreement. The Council affirmed in its resolution that while those discussions would go on, the proposals submitted by the Frente POLISARIO to overcome the obstacles preventing implementation of the settlement plan would be considered.
40. Following the adoption of resolution 1359 (2001), my Personal Envoy met with high-level representatives of the Frente POLISARIO and the Governments of Algeria and Mauritania at Pinedale, Wyoming, in August 2001. Neither the Government of Algeria nor the Frente POLISARIO was willing to engage in a detailed discussion of the draft framework agreement, notwithstanding indications of flexibility by the Government of Morocco conveyed to them by my Personal Envoy. In view of the responses that my Personal Envoy has received from the Government of Algeria and the Frente POLISARIO, which rejected the draft framework agreement (S/2002/41, annexes I and II), he does not see any real chance that the parties will ultimately voluntarily agree to this approach to solve their dispute over Western Sahara. He is also of the view, which I share, that the proposal submitted by Algeria in lieu of the draft framework agreement, by which the United Nations would assume sovereignty over Western Sahara in order to implement provisions that appear identical to those of the settlement plan, has no more chance than the settlement plan of bringing about an early, durable and agreed resolution of the conflict over Western Sahara.
41. Thereafter, as indicated in paragraph 2 above, my Personal Envoy met with President Bouteflika and high-level officials of the Government of Algeria on 2 November 2001 at the James Baker Institute in Houston, Texas, and then twice with King Mohammed VI and high-level officials of the Government of Morocco in Morocco on 24 and 25 January 2002.
42. At my request, my Personal Envoy agreed almost five years ago to try to assist in finding a solution to the dispute over Western Sahara. As this and my prior reports to the Security Council demonstrate, he has worked tirelessly during that period. He has recently reaffirmed to me his disappointment at the lack of progress towards finding a solution to the problem of Western Sahara - a solution which is sorely needed for long-term peace, stability and prosperity in the Maghreb region.
VII. Observations and recommendations
43. Despite their assertions to the contrary, the parties have not been willing to fully cooperate with the United Nations either to implement the settlement plan or to try to negotiate a political solution that will bring about an early, durable and agreed resolution of their dispute over Western Sahara.
44. As indicated in my report of June 2001 (S/2001/613, para. 52), my Personal Envoy is of the view, on the basis of the assessment of the United Nations work over the past 10 years in trying to implement the settlement plan, including the almost five years during which he has been involved, that it is highly unlikely that the settlement plan can be implemented in its present form in a way that it will achieve an early, durable and agreed resolution of the dispute over Western Sahara.
45. My Personal Envoy is of the view that, notwithstanding indications from Morocco of a willingness to negotiate, it is pointless to pursue at this time, except as provided in paragraph 49 below, any more discussion on the draft framework agreement, as neither the Government of Algeria nor the Frente POLISARIO is willing to engage in discussing it.
46. My Personal Envoy is also of the view that, notwithstanding indications from Algeria and the Frente POLISARIO of a willingness to negotiate a possible division of the Territory, it is pointless to pursue at this time any such discussions, except in the manner provided in paragraph 50 below, as the Government of Morocco is unwilling to discuss such an approach, even though it reached a similar agreement with the Government of Mauritania in 1976. I concur with the views of my Personal Envoy as expressed in paragraphs 44, 45 and the present paragraph.
47. We are currently faced with a rather bleak situation with regard to the future of the peace process in Western Sahara. My Personal Envoy and I believe there are four options for consideration by the Security Council in the light of the above pessimistic but realistic assessment.
48. As a first option, the United Nations could, once again, resume trying to implement the settlement plan, but without requiring the concurrence of both parties before action could be taken. This effort would begin with the appeals process but, even under this nonconsensual approach, the United Nations would in the years ahead face most of the problems and obstacles that it has faced during the past 10 years. Morocco has expressed unwillingness to go forward with the settlement plan; the United Nations might not be able to hold a free and fair referendum whose results would be accepted by both sides; and there would still be no mechanism to enforce the results of the referendum. Under this option, the Identification Commission of MINURSO would be reinforced and indeed the overall size of the operation would be increased.
49. As a second option, my Personal Envoy could undertake to revise the draft framework agreement, taking into account the concerns expressed by the parties and others with experience in such documents. However, in this event, my Personal Envoy would not seek the concurrence of the parties as has been done in the past with respect to the settlement plan and the draft framework agreement. The revised framework agreement would be submitted to the Security Council, and the Council would then present it to the parties on a non-negotiable basis. Should the Security Council agree to this option, MINURSO could be downsized further.
50. As a third option, the Security Council could ask my Personal Envoy to explore with the parties one final time whether or not they would now be willing to discuss, under his auspices, directly or through proximity talks, a possible division of the Territory, with the understanding that nothing would be decided until everything was decided. Were the Security Council to choose this option, in the event that the parties would be unwilling or unable to agree upon a division of the Territory by 1 November 2002, my Personal Envoy would also be asked to thereafter show to the parties a proposal for division of the Territory that would also be presented to the Security Council. The Council would present this proposal to the parties on a non-negotiable basis. This approach to a political solution would give each party some, but not all, of what it wants and would follow the precedent, but not necessarily the same territorial arrangements, of the division agreed to in 1976 between Morocco and Mauritania. Were the Security Council to choose this option, MINURSO could be maintained at its present size, or it could be reduced even more.
51. As a fourth option, the Security Council could decide to terminate MINURSO, thereby recognizing and acknowledging that after more than 11 years and the expenditure of sums of money nearing half a billion dollars, the United Nations is not going to solve the problem of Western Sahara without requiring that one or the other or both of the parties do something that they do not wish to voluntarily agree to do.
52. I am aware that none of the above-mentioned options will appear ideal to all the parties and interested countries. In order to give the Security Council time to decide, I recommend that the mandate of MINURSO be extended for two months, until 30 April 2002.
United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara: contributions as at 7 February 2002