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Morocco Beats Algeria in UN Fourth Committee Elections

Brussels – After Morocco was unanimously elected Vice President of the 72nd General Assembly that will run from September 2017 to September 2018, another victory was registered by a Moroccan diplomat who was voted Vice-Chair of the politically sensitive UN General Assembly’s 4th Committee.

The Fourth Committee elected Yasser Halfouni of Morocco as the Vice-Chair by 88 votes to 58 for the Algerian candidate Zaina Benhabouche.

The election of Halfouni was the fruit of a Moroccan campaign stressing the need to maintain rotation in the Fourth Committee’s chairmanship and recalling Morocco’s precedence in listing the Sahara in the Fourth Committee’s agenda in 1960 when the area was under Spanish colonial rule.

Since Morocco retrieved its Sahara southern provinces, Algeria pulled the strings of the Polisario within the Fourth Committee in a vain attempt to undermine the Kingdom’s territorial integrity and alter the regional character of the conflict over the Sahara to serve its hegemonic aims in the region.

Morocco has on multiple occasions protested against maintaining the Sahara issue on the decolonization agenda of the Fourth Committee on grounds that it violates the UN charter and the mandate of the Security Council.

Article 12 of the UN charter, which clearly stipulates that “while the Security Council is exercising in respect of any dispute or situation the functions assigned to it in the present Charter, the General Assembly shall not make any recommendation with regard to that dispute or situation unless the Security Council so requests.”

The Sahara issue has been part of the jurisdictions of the Security Council since 1988 as part of Article VI. Therefore maintaining the issue on the Fourth committee’s agenda creates confusion and inconsistency with the UN Charter.

Moreover, the terminology used in the Security Council resolution has never labelled the conflict as a decolonization issue and has never called the Sahara as an occupied territory. The Security Council uses accurate terms calling the Sahara issue a “regional conflict.”

  The United Nations General Assembly has also elected Côte d’Ivoire, Equatorial Guinea, Kuwait, Peru and Poland as non-permanent members of the Security Council for the next two years.

They will fill seats to be vacated by Egypt, Japan, Senegal, Ukraine and Uruguay on 31 December. Bolivia, Ethiopia, Kazakhstan and Sweden will continue as elected Council members, completing the second year of their respective terms in 2018. All new Council members will take their seats on 1 January 2018.

The five non-permanent members were elected according to the following pattern: three seats for the Group of African States and the Group of Asia-Pacific States, one for the Group of Eastern European States, and one for the Group of Latin American and Caribbean States. All the new members met the required two-thirds majority and were elected in the first and only round of voting.


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One comment

  1. Thanks, great article.