US Assistant Secretary of State Michele Sison has expressed Washington’s support for a “political solution” in Western Sahara. Sison made her comment after meeting Algerian Foreign Minister Ramtane Lamamra on Tuesday in Algiers.
“A political solution is important to promote a peaceful and prosperous future for the people of Western Sahara and the entire region,” she told journalists at the US Embassy in the Algerian capital. “The United States strongly supports the MINURSO peacekeeping mission and the peacekeeping operation, and we appreciate the contributions of the UN MINURSO forces in maintaining the necessary conditions to advance the UN-led peace process with a focus on a lasting solution in Western Sahara.”
The UN Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO) was established in 1991 under Security Council Resolution 690.
Sison arrived in Algeria on Tuesday and will travel to Morocco later to address regional issues and the accession of both countries to the UN Human Rights Council. The US State Department had pre-empted the visit with a statement stressing “the importance of human rights with the accession of Morocco and Algeria to the UN Human Rights Council.”
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The state department added that Sison would be laying emphasis on the support of the US for the MINURSO forces and the efforts of the UN Secretary-General’s Personal Envoy, Staffan de Mistura, in leading the UN political process in Western Sahara.
Regarding the role of Algeria, the US official said that it is considered to be, “A regional leader in resolving ongoing conflicts, as it plays a key role in achieving regional stability, especially in the Sahel region.” She praised Algeria’s mediation to resolve the crisis in Mali by enabling the conflicting parties in the country to sign the peace and reconciliation agreement in 2015. She highlighted the commonalities between Algeria and the US for the stability of the region.
Assistant Secretary of State Sison also took the opportunity to talk about the role of an independent press and civil society in Algeria, saying that people become more advanced and prosperous when they can exercise their freedoms and form associations. This message will be conveyed again in Morocco, where human rights and freedom of the press are on the agenda, along with the Western Sahara issue.
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