GENEVA / WESTERN SAHARA

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06-Dec-2018 00:04:22
The first UN-led talks in six years over Western Sahara concluded on a positive note on Thursday in Geneva, where the Organization’s representative Horst Köhler said that further discussions are planned “in the first quarter of 2019.” UNTV CH

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STORY: GENEVA / WESTERN SAHARA
TRT: 2:11
SOURCE: UNTV CH
RESTRICTIONS: NONE
LANGUAGE: ENGLISH / NATS

DATELINE: 06 DECEMBER 2018 GENEVA, SWITZERLAND

SHOTLIST:

1. Exterior shot, Palais des Nations
2. SOUNDBITE (English) Horst Köhler, Personal Envoy of the Secretary-General for Western Sahara: “The communiqué reads as follows: at the invitation of the Personal Envoy of the Secretary-General for Western Sahara, former President Horst Köhler of Germany, delegations from Morocco, the Frente POLISARIO, Algeria and Mauritania attended an initial roundtable meeting on 5 and 6 December 2018 in Geneva, in accordance with Security Council Resolution 2440. Delegations took stock of recent developments, addressed regional issues, and discussed the next steps in the political process on Western Sahara. All delegations recognized that cooperation and regional integration, not confrontation, were the best way to address the many important challenges the region is facing. All discussions took place in an atmosphere of serious engagement, frankness, and mutual respect. Delegations agreed that the Personal Envoy will invite them for a second roundtable meeting in the first quarter of 2019. End of communiqué.”
3. Close-up, hands typing on laptop
4. SOUNDBITE (English) Horst Köhler, Personal Envoy of the Secretary-General for Western Sahara: “It has been six years since the delegations met last time. I would therefore like to commend all delegations for the renewed commitment they all have shown by coming here and participating constructively. I see this meeting as a first - but important - step towards a renewed political process on the future of Western Sahara. The goal of this process is according to the United Nations Security Council, to find ‘a just, lasting and mutually acceptable solution that will provide for the self-determination of the people of Western Sahara.’End of quote. We have just finished two days of intensive discussions; I would like to applaud the delegations for having engaged openly and in a spirit of mutual respect. From our discussions it is clear to me that nobody wins from maintaining the status quo, and it is my firm belief that it lies in the interest of all to resolve the conflict over Western Sahara in order to create an environment in the region that is conducive to strong economic growth, job creation and better security.”
5. Medium shot, TV cameras
6. SOUNDBITE (English) Horst Köhler, Personal Envoy of the Secretary-General for Western Sahara:
“I am therefore very pleased to announce that the delegations have committed to engaging further. My hope is that this process will be guided first and foremost by a concern for the men and women, the children and youth of the people of Western Sahara. My conviction remains that a peaceful solution to this conflict is possible. I look forward to inviting the delegations to a second roundtable meeting in the first quarter of 2019.”
7. Close-up, hands typing on laptop

STORYLINE:

The first UN-led talks in six years over Western Sahara concluded on a positive note on Thursday in Geneva, where the Organization’s representative Horst Köhler said that further discussions are planned “in the first quarter of 2019.”

Speaking to journalists after two days of roundtable discussions in the Swiss city, Mr Köhler, who is the Personal Envoy of the Secretary-General and former President of Germany, read a final communiqué agreed by all delegations: Morocco, the Frente POLISARIO, Algeria and Mauritania.

“The communiqué reads as follows: at the invitation of the Personal Envoy of the Secretary-General for Western Sahara, former President Horst Köhler of Germany, delegations from Morocco, the Frente POLISARIO, Algeria and Mauritania attended an initial roundtable meeting on 5 and 6 December 2018 in Geneva, in accordance with Security Council Resolution 2440. Delegations took stock of recent developments, addressed regional issues, and discussed the next steps in the political process on Western Sahara. All delegations recognized that cooperation and regional integration, not confrontation, were the best way to address the many important challenges the region is facing. All discussions took place in an atmosphere of serious engagement, frankness, and mutual respect. Delegations agreed that the Personal Envoy will invite them for a second roundtable meeting in the first quarter of 2019. End of communiqué.”

Köhler noted the significance of the Geneva meeting, which comes after previous UN-led talks ended in 2012, part of the Organization’s long-term engagement in the search for a peaceful solution to the conflict over Western Sahara.

“It has been six years since the delegations met last time,” he said. “I would therefore like to commend all delegations for the renewed commitment they all have shown by coming here and participating constructively. I see this meeting as a first - but important - step towards a renewed political process on the future of Western Sahara. The goal of this process is…according to the United Nations Security Council, to find ‘a just, lasting and mutually acceptable solution that will provide for the self-determination of the people of Western Sahara’. End of quote. We have just finished two days of intensive discussions; I would like to applaud the delegations for having engaged openly and in a spirit of mutual respect. From our discussions it is clear to me that nobody wins from maintaining the status quo, and it is my firm belief that it lies in the interest of all to resolve the conflict over Western Sahara in order to create an environment in the region that is conducive to strong economic growth, job creation and better security.”

Looking ahead, the Personal Envoy of the Secretary-General for Western Sahara confirmed that further talks are planned early next year.

“I am therefore very pleased to announce that the delegations have committed to engaging further,” he said. “My hope is that this process will be guided first and foremost by a concern for the men and women, the children and youth of the people of Western Sahara. My conviction remains that a peaceful solution to this conflict is possible. I look forward to inviting the delegations to a second roundtable meeting in the first quarter of 2019.”

In 1991, the UN helped bring an end to fighting in Western Sahara, before setting up a peacekeeping mission there: the United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO).

The Geneva talks – involving delegations from Morocco, the Frente POLISARIO, Algeria and Mauritania – took place in accordance with UN Security Council resolution 2440.

The text of that resolution calls on the parties to the dispute over the territory “to engage constructively” in talks, according to an online statement published on 31 October.

Parties should “demonstrate political will in order to advance the negotiations”, Council Members said, while also emphasizing the importance of an “enduring political solution based on compromise and the need to provide for the self-determination of the people of Western Sahara in a manner consistent with the Charter of the United Nations”.
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unifeed181206i
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