U.S. Envoy on Adoption of U.N. Resolution on Western Sahara

U.S. Mission to the United Nations
Office of Press and Public Diplomacy
New York, New York
April 28, 2015

AS DELIVERED

Explanation of Vote by Ambassador Michele J. Sison, U.S. Deputy Permanent Representative to the United Nations, at the Adoption of UN Security Council Resolution 2218 on Western Sahara, April 28, 2015

Thank you, Madam President. The United States supports the Council’s adoption of the resolution renewing the United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara, MINURSO, for another year. MINURSO is indispensable in its role of supporting stability and security in Western Sahara as it has for the last twenty-four years.

The United States believes that the United Nations holds the legitimacy and the impartiality necessary to facilitate a lasting political solution to this conflict. The United States is hopeful that today’s adoption of this resolution will encourage the parties to demonstrate their serious and genuine commitment to the UN-led political process to “achieve a just, lasting, and mutually acceptable political solution, which will provide for the self-determination of the people of Western Sahara,” and to engage in negotiations as soon as possible. We look forward to both sides bringing forward new ideas to this dialogue.

We witnessed several developments of concern this past year – stalled family visits, dwindling humanitarian assistance, and rising tensions inside Sahrawi refugee camps, as well as greater security concerns in the region – that illustrate that the status quo is clearly untenable. Over the last year, the United Nations also suffered a significant and regrettable loss of diplomatic engagement. The loss of valuable time and diplomatic engagement must not be repeated. The United States is determined to see the parties make significant progress toward a mutual political solution and to improve the human rights situation throughout the next year. We encourage the resumption of family reunification visits, which underscore the very real human dimension to this conflict. We also look forward to the UN’s briefings in October and hope we will hear of greater progress at that time.

We call upon the parties to demonstrate their resolve in implementing all elements of this resolution, including facilitating full access for MINURSO staff to all interlocutors. We further remind the parties of the ongoing need for the Council to receive reports from the UN on the situation on the ground in Western Sahara and in the refugee camps near Tindouf. We encourage the parties to continue to cooperate with the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, with OHCHR’s visits to the region, and to continue to promote and protect human rights in both areas.

The United States remains committed to the UN’s efforts for Western Sahara, including those led by Personal Envoy of the Secretary-General Christopher Ross, Special Representative of the Secretary-General Kim Bolduc, and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. The United Nations has our unwavering support for its efforts to achieve a political solution.

Thank you, Madam President.