- The former Federal President resigned as UN Special Envoy for the Western Sahara conflict after two years.
- Köhler leads health reasons for his decision.
- UN Secretary-General Guterres regrets the move.
Former Federal President Horst Köhler has resigned as UN Special Envoy for the Western Sahara conflict. He had given health reasons, a UN spokesman said. He did not name details.
UN Secretary-General António Guterres said that he expressed his deep regret over his resignation. He also thanked the former Special Envoy for his "steadfast and intensive efforts" that would have formed the basis for new political momentum in the Western Sahara issue. Guterres wishes Köhler the best.
The 76-year-old CDU politician Köhler was from 2004 to 2010 Federal President. In August 2017, Guterres entrusted the African experts with the delicate task of resolving the decades-long Western Sahara conflict. The resource-rich territory, a former Spanish colony, was annexed by Morocco in 1975. As a result, the country fought for 16 years with the independence movement Polisario around the area.
In 1991, the UN negotiated a ceasefire and a peacekeeping mission to prepare, inter alia, a referendum on the future of the territory. It has not come to a referendum yet. Morocco has proposed far-reaching autonomy for Western Sahara. Polisario insists that the local population, with an estimated 350,000 to 500,000 inhabitants, has the right to a referendum.
Although Köhler succeeded in bringing representatives of Morocco, Polisario and its neighboring countries Algeria and Mauritania to a negotiating table for the first time in six years in December 2018. But there was no noteworthy progress, although the parties to the conflict emphasized their commitment to the talks brokered by the UN.
In March, there was also a second Western Sahara meeting, which also remained inconclusive on the core question of "self-determination". Köhler stated at that time that "many points of view would still fundamentally differ from one another". Nobody should expect "a quick result". At that time, Köhler also announced a new round of negotiations under his mediation.
. (tagsToTranslate) Horst Köhler (t) Antonio Guterres (t) CDU (t) United Nations (t) Politics (t) Süddeutsche Zeitung (t) SZ