This essay evaluates the United Nations’ (UN) involvement and efforts in Western Sahara, and assesses its perceived effectiveness in settling this conflict in the post-Cold War international order. The dispute in Western Sahara is the most protracted conflict in the history of the UN. Its settlement would provide a crucial platform for the progress of other unresolved conflicts under UN auspices. As a mediator and an intervening party, the UN has played a major role in the dispute, especially since the establishment of the UN Mission for Western Sahara, MINURSO. After outlining the history of the Western Sahara conflict, this paper elucidates the stages the UN has managed therein, and clarifies the reasons and motives behind the deadlock in the Sahara. The UN’s efforts are evaluated, and the negotiating perspectives of the concerned parties in the conflict and role of Algeria, which considers itself not formally part of the conflict despite its role in preserving the current impasse, analysed.
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