Security Council


5 November 1994

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Report by the Secretary-General


1. In response to Security Council resolution 907 (1994) of
29 March 1994, I submitted a report to the Council on
12 July 1994 (S/1994/819). The present report provides an

account of further progress made by the United Nations Mission
for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO) in the
identification and registration process, in pursuance of
resolution 907 (1994) and the statement by the President of
the Security Council of 29 July 1994 (S/PRST/1994/39). It is
divided into four main sections. Sections II and III provide

an update on the activities of the military and the civilian
police components of MINURSO since my report of 12 July 1994.
Section IV covers the identification process and related
questions. Section V contains my observations.


2. As of 25 October 1994, the military component of MINURSO,
headed by the Force Commander, Brigadier-General Andre Van
Baelen (Belgium), totalled 272 personnel, comprising 222
military observers and 50 military support personnel, as


(a) Military observers and headquarters personnel

Argentina 7

Austria 4

Bangladesh 7

Belgium 1

China 20

Egypt 9

94-43453 (E) 071194 /...

France 30

Ghana 4

Greece 1

Guinea 1

Honduras 14

Ireland 9

Italy 5

Kenya 7

Malaysia 6

Nigeria 4

Pakistan 4

Poland 2

Republic of Korea 2

Russian Federation 28

Tunisia 10

United States of America 30

Uruguay 15

Venezuela 2

Total 222

(b) Military support personnel

(i) Movement control: Honduras 2

(ii) Medical unit: Korea, Republic of 40

(iii) Clerical: Ghana 8

Total 50

Grand total 272

3. Pending the fulfilment of the conditions necessary for the

commencement of the transitional period, the military mandate
of MINURSO remains restricted to monitoring and verifying the
cease-fire that has been in effect since 6 September 1991.
Accordingly, the deployment of the military component of

MINURSO remains limited to military observers and the
necessary military support personnel. The cease-fire
continues to hold, with only two minor violations during the
reporting period, one on the part of Morocco and one on the
part of the Frente Popular para la Liberacion de Saguia el-

Hamra y de Rio de Oro (Frente POLISARIO).

4. As I informed the Security Council in my report of
12 July 1994 (S/1994/819), the medical unit provided by the
Government of Switzerland was scheduled to complete its
withdrawal from MINURSO by mid-August 1994. The advance team

of the replacement medical unit, provided by the Government of
the Republic of Korea, was deployed on 11 August 1994 and
became fully operational as of 3 October 1994. It will be
recalled that the military movement control and signals units
were withdrawn by their contributing countries, Canada and
Australia respectively, earlier this year. Since that time,

most movement control functions have been assumed by civilian
staff and military observers have operated the radio system,
in addition to their primary functions. When the transitional
phase of the implementation plan (S/22464 and Corr.1) is
initiated, it will be necessary for the present signals and
movement control elements to be manned by full military

support units.


5. In pursuance of Security Council resolution 907 (1994),

which authorized the Identification Commission to proceed with
the identification and registration of potential voters, the
civilian police component of MINURSO was increased from 26 to
55 officers. As of 25 October 1994, the unit, headed by the
Police Commissioner, Colonel Juergen Friedrich Reimann
(Germany), totalled 50 personnel from the following countries:

Austria 10

Germany 5

Malaysia 15

Nigeria 5

Norway 5

Togo 5

Uruguay 5

Total 50

6. In accordance with the settlement plan (S/21360 and
S/22464 and Corr.1), the task of the civilian police unit of

(a) To ensure tranquillity and maintain law and order

in the vicinity of, and at, voter registration offices and
polling stations, to ensure that no person is denied entry for
the purposes of registration or voting and, when specifically
so ordered, to maintain order at other locations where
activities in connection with the referendum, under MINURSO
auspices or authority, are taking place;

(b) To monitor the activities of the existing police
forces so as to ensure that they are acting in strict
accordance with the settlement plan, which is intended to
secure the organization of a free and fair referendum without
military or administrative constraints and to prevent any

possibility of intimidation or interference from any quarter.

7. According to the initial timetable set out in the plan
(S/22464), the Identification Commission should start the
identification and registration of potential voters on D-Day,
which marks the beginning of the transitional period.

However, this operation was brought forward in pursuance of
Security Council resolution 907 (1994) and launched on
28 August 1994, as reported below. The civilian police unit
of MINURSO had therefore assumed the functions referred to in
subparagraph 6 (a) above, even though the transitional period
has not yet begun.


8. In my report of 12 July 1994 (S/1994/819), I noted that
the Identification Commission had focused its efforts on

achieving the agreement and cooperation of both parties in
order to proceed with the identification of potential voters.
During their consultations with the Commission, the two
parties had agreed on two Saharan tribal subgroups
(subfractions) with which to start the operation and on the
relevant sheikhs to assist the Commission in determining the

identity and eligibility of applicants who were members of
those subfractions. Arrangements had also been agreed for the
security, travel and accommodation of the sheikhs concerned,
as well as the representatives of the parties who were to
observe the process. The Commission had thus succeeded in

completing, with the cooperation of the parties, all the
necessary groundwork for launching the process. It was
prepared to begin identifying and registering potential voters
on 8 June, simultaneously at Laayoune and the El-Aiun refugee
camp in the Tindouf area. However, it could not start as
scheduled because of the difficulty over the observers of the

Organization of African Unity (OAU), as explained in the same

9. In order to overcome that difficulty, I held extensive
consultations with President Ben Ali of Tunisia, the current
Chairman of OAU, and the Secretary-General of OAU and other
interested parties. As a result, I received a letter from the
Minister for Foreign Affairs of Tunisia on 23 July 1994, in

which President Ben Ali provided a "unique and indivisible"
list of four observers, comprising the two observers
previously designated and two others. Subsequently, the
Identification Commission planned to start identifying and
registering potential voters on 8 August 1994. Every effort
was made to have all four observers proceed to the mission

area on time. However, because of the unavailability of one
newly designated OAU observer and delays in the arrival of his
replacement in the Mission area, the identification and
registration of potential voters did not begin until
28 August, as described below.

10. Meanwhile, the Deputy Special Representative and Chairman
of the Identification Commission, Mr. Erik Jensen, held a
series of meetings with the two parties, in Rabat and the
Tindouf area respectively, to review and confirm in detail all
the arrangements to be implemented, especially those
concerning tribal leaders and the observers of the parties and

of OAU. On 20 July, he held consultations with Mr. Mustafa
Bachir Sayed, Deputy Secretary-General of the Frente POLISARIO
and Coordinator with MINURSO. They met again on 3 and
17 August. From 4 to 6 August, the Deputy Special
Representative held consultations with the Minister of the
Interior and Information of Morocco, Mr. Driss Basri, and

other officials. He met again with the Minister on 14 August.
While all the arrangements were confirmed, the parties were
not ready to have the process begin until all four observers
had arrived. The Deputy Special Representative also met with
a delegation of the International Committee of the Red Cross
(ICRC), which was visiting prisoners-of-war (POWs) in the

Tindouf area.

11. On 25 August, the fourth observer designated by the
Chairman of OAU reached Casablanca, where the other three had
been waiting. They were flown to Laayoune on the following
day. On 27 August, a United Nations aircraft carried the

observers of the Frente POLISARIO and the sheikhs concerned
from Tindouf to Laayoune. The observers of the Moroccan party
and the relevant sheikhs were flown from Laayoune to Tindouf,
together with two observers. The other two observers remained
in Laayoune to observe the process on that side.

12. The identification and registration operation was finally
launched on 28 August 1994, with an opening ceremony held
simultaneously at Laayoune and the El-Aiun camp in the Tindouf
area. From 28 to 31 August, the Identification Commission
identified and interviewed the first 400 applicants, members

of the two tribal subfractions that had been selected for the
beginning of this process. The operation was conducted with
the assistance of the sheikhs concerned and in the presence of
the observers. It took place at the identification and

registration centres set up in Laayoune and the El-Aiun camp.
It had to be adjourned on 1 September 1994 because of previous
official commitments of some of the observers designated by
the Chairman of OAU, but was resumed on 21 September.
Meanwhile, the Commission continued to computerize and analyse

the 81,500 completed applications forms it had collected thus

13. On 7 September 1994, the Frente POLISARIO Coordinator with
MINURSO addressed a letter to the Deputy Special
Representative, in which he evaluated the first few days of

the identification operation and conveyed a number of
requests. After careful consideration of these comments and
requests, the Deputy Special Representative addressed a reply
to the Frente POLISARIO Coordinator on 14 September. On
15 September, he visited the Tindouf area to discuss with the
Coordinator the concerns of the Frente POLISARIO and to

address other issues relating to the process. There was
continuous contact with the responsible Moroccan officials in
Laayoune on all relevant matters.

14. In a letter to the parties dated 21 September, the Deputy
Special Representative set 15 October 1994 as the deadline for

the receipt of applications. On 8 and 9 October,
unprecedented heavy rainfall and consequent flash flooding in
the Tindouf area caused widespread damage and disruption. In
response to an appeal by the Frente POLISARIO Coordinator for
a postponement of the deadline because of the interruption in
work caused by the weather, a 10-day grace period was granted.

15. In the second half of October, there was a flood of
completed application forms. It exceeded the number
previously received. Only about 50,000 (about 21 per cent of
the total) have been computerized and analysed so far. On the
basis of experience so far, it will take about 16 weeks to

process the remaining forms, unless additional resources are
made available. This inevitably means further lengthy delays
in the identification process as the relevant data have to be
readily available on computer for the use of Commission
members in the identification centres, especially in the case
of the many individuals who lack reliable documentation.

16. To date only some 4,000 potential voters from 5 Saharan
tribal subfractions have been identified and interviewed,
equivalent to less than 2 per cent of the total number of
application forms. The identification process, which had

started in centres in Laayoune and the El-Aiun camp, was later
extended to two other refugee camps in the Tindouf area.
Other identification and registration offices are to be
established shortly in various population centres in Western
Sahara. This was confirmed at a meeting between the Deputy
Special Representative and the Moroccan Minister of Interior

and Information on 26 October. On 28 October, the Deputy
Special Representative also met again with the Frente
POLISARIO Coordinator to review progress and plans for the
weeks ahead.


17. The launching of the identification and registration of
potential voters on 28 August 1994, after numerous delays and

considerable effort on the part of all concerned, has marked a
significant step towards the fulfilment of the United Nations
mandate in Western Sahara. The observers are of the general
view that the operation has so far been conducted with
appropriate transparency and rigour. The Deputy Special
Representative also noted the degree of cooperation between

all parties concerned.

18. The Deputy Special Representative has reported that the
identification operation is improving with time, thanks to the
experience gained daily by the Identification Commission
teams, the assistance of the relevant sheikhs and the

cooperation of the observers. It is expected that the
operation will be accelerated further as Commission teams
become more familiar with the detailed procedures and as all
the required Commission staff, as approved by General Assembly
resolution 48/250 B of 13 July 1994 on the financing of
MINURSO, are deployed in the field.

19. Nevertheless, only a very small proportion of the
applicants have been identified in the first two months of the
process and the potential scale of the operation has been
greatly increased by the last-minute flood of applications.
Moreover, the operation is logistically far more complex than

was expected, as members of the same tribal subgroups, who
must be identified individually with the assistance of their
respective sheikhs, are dispersed in different locations and
means of communications are limited. Nor is it possible to
predict at this stage the number of appeals that may be lodged
or the time required to process those appeals.

20. In my report of 12 July 1994, I had indicated my intention
to recommend that the transitional period should start on
1 October 1994 and that the referendum should take place on
14 February 1995, subject to the approval of the Security
Council. However, it is clear that many months will be

required to make sufficient progress in the identification
process to be close to determining a date for the referendum
and a revised timetable for the steps still to be taken to
implement the settlement plan. I will report further to the
Security Council on the organization and timing of the

referendum after the consultations I intend to hold during my
visit to the area in November.

21. In the meantime, it is my intention to dispatch a
technical team to the field within the next few days to
reassess the logistic and other requirements for the possible

deployment of MINURSO at full strength. As mentioned in my
last report (S/1994/819), it is also my intention to submit
shortly to the two parties a draft code of conduct on which I
shall invite their comments.

22. I propose to maintain the existing military and civilian
strength of MINURSO, as approved by General Assembly
resolution 48/250 B of 13 July 1994, until my next report to
the Security Council.