The United Nations Security Council extended the mandate of the UN Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO) until April 30.
Adopting resolution 2240 (2018), by a recorded vote of 12 in favour and three abstentions, the Security Council underscored the need for a “realistic, practicable and enduring political solution” to the Western Sahara question.
The 15-member Council expressed “full support” for the Secretary-General’s plan to initiate renewed negotiations before the end of 2018 and urged all parties to resume dialogue toward a just, lasting and mutually acceptable political solution, “which will provide for the self-determination of the people of Western Sahara.”
Originally established in 1991, in accordance with settlement proposals accepted in 1988 by Morocco and the Frente Polisario movement, MINURSO was tasked with monitoring the ceasefire; overseeing the exchange of prisoners of war; repatriation of refugees; and eventual organisation of a free and fair referendum in which the people of Western Sahara would choose between independence and integration with Morocco.
While organisation of the referendum has not been possible to date, other requirements of the mandate have been successfully pursued and the peacekeeping mission continues to monitor the ceasefire, conduct mine clearance operations as well as supporting confidence building measures.
MINURSO provides assistance to irregular migrants as well as humanitarian assistance when natural disasters occur.