PRETORIA – South Africa on Wednesday welcomed the first round of negotiations held in Geneva on 5-6 December with a view to resolving the Western Sahara, wishing that this process of negotiations led by the Personal Envoy of UN Secretary-General Horst Kohler will result in "a just, lasting and mutually acceptable solution that will allow the self-determination of the people of Western Sahara".
South Africa "welcomes the recently concluded first round of negotiations held in Geneva on 5-6 December 2018," said Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Lindiwe Sisulu in a press statement , welcoming "these positive developments".
South Africa, she added, "welcomes the fact that Morocco and the Polisario Front have been able to meet to seek a political solution to the conflict," and hopes that "this process of negotiations, led by the Personal Envoy of the UN Secretary-General, former German President Horst Kohler, will lead to a just, lasting and mutually acceptable solution that will allow the self-determination of the people of Western Sahara ".
Negotiations take place in accordance with United Nations Security Council Resolution 2440 of 31 October 2018, which called on the parties to the conflict to demonstrate "political will and work in an atmosphere conducive to dialogue".
The Geneva meeting was held after six years of suspension of negotiations and will be followed by a second roundtable in the first quarter of 2019.
"We hope that these negotiations are a step in the right direction to restart the long-standing talks between the Polisario Front and Morocco," she said, saying that South Africa "will use its next mandate to the UN Security Council to call on the UN to continue to support the right of self-determination of the people of Western Sahara ".