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Western Sahara

Morocco’s attempts to manipulate a report on its illegal occupation of Western Sahara has caused a diplomatic incident at the United Nations security council (UNSC).

A hard-hitting 28-page report to the UNSC by UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon was watered down after interference by Morocco and Morocco’s closest great power sponsor, France.

Ban wrote that MINURSO, the UN’s monitoring mission in Western Sahara, was ‘unable to exercise fully’ its monitoring function.

The final text says the agency’s access to the local population ‘is controlled [by Moroccan authorities], which has an effect on interaction with the full spectrum of local interlocutors’.

The original text said the movements of UN staff were ‘closely monitored with the consequent chilling effect’ on their interaction with the local residents.

There were other modifications. However, even in the final report, Ban noted that Morocco may have spied on the agency: ‘There were... indications that the confidentiality of communications between MINURSO headquarters and New York was, at least on occasion, compromised’.


Topics: Western Sahara