Ross: Situation in Sahel and vicinity makes solution to Sahara issue more urgent
The situation in the Sahel region and its vicinity makes a solution to the Sahara issue more urgent than ever, the Personal Envoy of the UN Secretary-General for the Sahara, Christopher Ross, said Thursday in Rabat.
Ross told the press after his meeting with Moroccan foreign minister, Saad Dine El Otmani, that he "started in Rabat a new tour aimed at searching for a solution to the Sahara issue in accordance with successive Security Council resolutions," insisting that "the situation in the Sahel region and its vicinity makes a solution to the Sahara issue more urgent than ever."
He said he had held extensive meetings with the head of government, the foreign minister and the speakers of the two chambers of parliament "on how best to advance the process of negotiations."
"I am also scheduled to meet the minister of the interior and other figures," he added, pointing out that the conclusions of the tour will be submitted to the Security Council on April 22.
In a similar statement, El Otmani said he had assured the UN envoy of Morocco's support and its determination to ensure success of this mission towards reaching a final and lasting solution to the Sahara issue.
"We carried out an in-depth analysis of the next steps proposed by Mr. Ross as part of his regional tour," he said.
The meeting was attended by Morocco's permanent representative to the UN, Mohamed Loulichki.
Christopher Ross began Wednesday a tour of North Africa (March 20-April 3) to prepare a "possible resumption of direct negotiations" on the Sahara.