Thursday, March 31, 2016 11:01 pm
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has written a “personal letter” to King Mohammed VI of Morocco on the Western Sahara dispute, Ban’s spokesman said here Thursday.
UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric refused to discuss the content of the letter. However, pressed by reporters, he said it was “safe to assume” the letter was about Ban’s comparing conditions in a Western Sahara refugee camp as akin to those in an occupied region.
The remark greatly upset Rabat which has withdrawn support for the UN Mission there, known as MINURSO.
The spokesman has previously said Ban was just personally reacting in a spontaneous manner to what he had witnessed and that the use of “occupation” did not signal any change in the United Nations stance and that it was not meant in a legal sense.
“We very much hope we will be able to have discussions between senior UN officials and senior Moroccan officials and we’ve indicated we would like to move forward in a positive manner on this issue,” said Dujarric.
The letter, noted the spokesman, “was to explain directly along the same lines that we have been explaining publicly to what happened, what the motivation was,” adding that “It’s a personal letter from the United Nations to the head of state of a member state and we would like to move forward.”
Ban “signed it Ban Ki-moon on letterhead that is marked secretary-general,” Dujarric explained.