Home News UN Seeks Kagame Intervention to End 40-year Western Sahara Conflict

UN Seeks Kagame Intervention to End 40-year Western Sahara Conflict

by Dan Ngabonziza
4:06 pm

UN Secretary General’s Special Envoy for Western Sahara,Horst Köhler(L) and President Paul Kagame

The United Nations has appealed to President Paul Kagame to help solve the 40-year-old Western Sahara conflict.

For this period, the United Nations (UN) has been struggling to end an ongoing conflict between the revolutionary Polisario Front and the Kingdom of Morocco.

The UN now believes that President Kagame, in his capacity as the new Chairman of the African Union, would help convince fellow African leaders to join efforts to end the conflict.

On Friday, the UN Secretary General’s Special Envoy for Western Sahara conflict and former Germany President, Horst Köhler, held talks with President Kagame to discuss about the Western Sahara situation.

The UN Secretary General’s Special Envoy for the conflict was here to request President Kagame to convince other African leaders in his capacity as AU Chairman to solve the issue,” Rwanda’s Foreign Affairs Minister Louise Mushikiwabo told KT Press shortly after the talks.

President Kagame will officially take the new responsibility of the African Union Chairmanship on 28th January according to Minister Mushikiwabo.

With UN’s request, Kagame’s tenure would be making a remarkable start to end one of Africa’s longest conflicts.

The Western Sahara conflict is the continuation of the past insurgency by Polisario against the Spanish colonial forces in 1973–75 and the subsequent Western Sahara War between the Polisario and Morocco (1975–91).

Polisario Front, a Sahrawi movement founded in 1973 to campaign for the independence of Western Sahara, launched a guerrilla struggle against what it saw as the Moroccan-Mauritanian occupation of its indigenous land.

The conflict lasted until a U.N brokered ceasefire was agreed in 1991 and resulted in the displacement of thousands of Sahrawis into refugee camps across the Algerian border in Tindouf, where they remain to this day.

The U.N. Refugee Agency (UNHCR) estimates that 90,000 people are living in the camps.

Western Sahara is a region on North Africa’s Atlantic coast bordering Morocco, Algeria and Mauritania.

It was colonized by Spain in 1884 and remained part of the Spanish kingdom for more than a hundred years.

It’s estimated, 570,000 people are Sahrawis and the majority religion is Islam.