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17 October 2018, New York – European Union Explanation of Position before the vote on the Resolution on the situation concerning Western Sahara at the 73rd Session of the United Nations General Assembly Fourth Committee
Monsieur le President,
I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union and its Member States.
The Candidate Countries the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia*, Montenegro*, Serbia* and Albania*, the country of the Stabilisation and Association Process and potential candidate Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as Ukraine and the Republic of Moldova, align themselves with this statement.
We look forward to the consensual adoption of the resolution on the situation concerning Western Sahara.
We welcome the commitment of the Secretary-General to relaunch the negotiating process with a new dynamic and a new spirit leading to the resumption of a political process with the aim to achieve a just, lasting and mutually acceptable political solution, which will provide for the self-determination of the people of Western Sahara in the context of arrangements consistent with the principles and purposes of the Charter of the United Nations. We continue to encourage the parties to work towards such a solution, within the framework of the United Nations.
We are grateful for the work of Kim Bolduc as Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Western Sahara and Head of MINURSO. We welcome the appointment of Colin Stewart as the new Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Western Sahara and Head of MINURSO and we stand ready to support him in this capacity. We express full support for the Secretary-General’s Personal Envoy Horst Köhler for Western Sahara. We welcome the positive response by the parties and by neighbouring states to his invitation for the roundtable meeting to be held in December in Geneva.
We welcome the adoption of UNSCR 2414, which expresses full support to the Secretary-General and his proposal to relaunch the political process. We fully support the meaningful participation of women and youth in the political process.
We encourage the parties to continue to show political will and work in an atmosphere propitious for dialogue, in order to enter into a more intensive phase of negotiations, in good faith and without preconditions, taking note of efforts and developments since 2006, thus ensuring implementation of Security Council resolutions 1754, 1783, 1813, 1871, 1920, 1979 2044, 2099, 2152, 2218, 2285, – 2351 and 2414 as well as the success of negotiations. It is important that the parties demonstrate further political will towards a solution.
We note with deep concern insufficient funding for those living in Tindouf refugee camps and urge the international community to provide new and additional voluntary contributions. We support the Security Council request that UNHCR maintain its consideration of a refugee registration in the Tindouf refugee camps.
We encourage the parties to further collaborate with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in the implementation of confidence building measures (CBM). We welcome the progress made in the past on the issue of the CBM, as we are convinced that progress on these issues could help to improve the atmosphere for the political process.
We remain concerned about the implications of the Western Sahara conflict for security and cooperation in the region.
I thank you.
* The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Albania continue to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process.