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United Nations (New York), June 12, 2018 (SPS)

Delegations from the various countries attending the annual session of the UN Special Commission on Decolonization, known as the Committee of 24, called on Monday to resume negotiations on Western Sahara to accelerate decolonization.

The Ecuadorian representative, Diego Fernando Morejon Pazmino, who spoke at the session on the Saharawi issue, said that it is important to focus on relaunching the negotiations between the two sides, considering that thirty years of failure are unacceptable.

For his part, the representative of Timor-Leste, Mr. Mautito, asked the Committee to intensify its efforts to end colonialism, noting that in the 17 Territories live almost two million people.

Mr. Mautito recalled that the Polisario Front is the legitimate representative of the people of Western Sahara, emphasizing that the country has established diplomatic relations with the Saharawi people and recognizes the sovereignty of the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic that already has its embassy in Dili.

The representative of Ethiopia, Biruk Mekonnen Demisse, called for a resumption of negotiations for a political solution to the realization of the right to self-determination of the people of Western Sahara.

At the same meeting, the representative of the Venezuelan delegation, Jorge Arturo Reyes Hernandez, said that the four rounds of negotiations carried out under the auspices of the Secretary General are a valuable effort that should be strengthened.

“This should be accompanied by a referendum as described in the 1990 Security Council resolution, he added. He called for further measures to improve the precarious situation of the Saharawi population, including strengthening international cooperation.

Biruk Mekonnen Demisse addressed the issue of natural resources, noting that the economic activities carried out by Morocco in Western Sahara are contrary to the interests of the people and should be prohibited.

The representative of Nicaragua, Jaime Hermida Castillo, insisted on respect for international law and expressed solidarity with the struggle of the Saharawi people for independence, while urging both parties to a conflict to reach a solution to enable the Saharawi people to exercise their right to self-determination.

Elton Khoetage Hoeseb, representative of the Namibian delegation, said it was “imperative that the United Nations continue to lead the African Union-backed negotiation process” and insisted that his country supported the referendum, adding that the current situation and denial of the right the self-determination of the people of Western Sahara lasted too long.

Mr. Hoeseb urged the Security Council to assume its responsibilities and ensure the implementation of all its resolutions.

Recalling the numerous resolutions of the General Assembly, the Security Council and the African Union for the past 22 years reaffirming the right to independence and self-determination of the Saharawi people, the Permanent Representative of Cuba to the United Nations, Ambassador Anayansi Rodriguez Camejo, regretted that , despite continued efforts there has been virtually no progress in finding an effective solution to the conflict in Western Sahara, which has been blocked for more than four decades

In his speech, the representative of South Africa, Oyama Mgobozi, reaffirmed his country’s solidarity with the Saharawi people because of the long struggle against apartheid and the commitment to the right to self-determination.

“The people of Western Sahara have spent decades waiting to exercise their right to self-determination and to enjoy freedom,” said South African diplomat, asking “How can we allow this situation to last for so long?”

For her part, the representative of Zimbabwe, Ms Kumbirayi Taremba expressed support for the right to self-determination of the Saharawi people, which is “a matter of principle for our country.”

Kumbirayi Taremba called on the Security Council to intensify efforts to reach a lasting political solution to the conflict by expressing support for the efforts of UN envoy Horst Kohler and the African Union special envoy to resume negotiations.

The representative of Uruguay, Beatriz Nunez Rivas, in turn defended the right of the Saharawi people to self-determination, defending a political solution that could fulfill this right.

Beatriz Núñez Rivas urged the African Union to continue working to get closer to the parties and that any solution requires the full implementation of the resolutions of the Council and the UN Assembly.