The Russian Federation abstained on the draft Security Council resolution put forward by the United States on the renewal of the mandate of the United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO) in view of the fact that none of our principled and substantiated comments, including those of a compromise nature, which we have been making for several years now, were taken into account.
For that reason, the resolution before us today does not reflect the real situation on the ground in the Western Sahara settlement and is unlikely to contribute to the efforts of the Personal Envoy of the Secretary-General, Mr. Staffan De Mistura, to resume the direct negotiations between Morocco and the Polisario Front with a view to reaching a mutually acceptable solution.
Since 2018, the resolutions renewing the mandate of MINURSO have been amended in ways that we believe undermine an impartial and non-biased approach to the issue of Western Sahara. Vague language has emerged that raises questions alongside with language that identifies the direct participants in the conflict and the settlement process in Western Sahara. We find inappropriate the numerous references to the no longer relevant format of round tables, which limits the mediation activities of the Personal Envoy.
We did not agree with this approach in the past, and so we are unable to support it today.
In that connection, we should like to reiterate our consistent position on the Western Saharan settlement – we advocate a balanced and unbiased approach and support the efforts of the Personal Envoy to organize direct negotiations between Morocco and the Polisario Front. Guided by this, we continue active contacts (i.a. as a permanent member of the Security Council and a member of the Group of Friends of Western Sahara) with all interested parties; we engage with Moroccans, Polisarians, Algerians and Mauritanians. We call on all parties to refrain from unilateral actions that could complicate the resumption of substantive political dialogue.
The final settlement formula should rest upon mutually acceptable solutions that would promote a just political settlement of the situation around Western Sahara that both Moroccans and Polisarians will be content with, and provide for the self-determination of the people of Western Sahara through procedures consistent with the principles and purposes of the UN Charter.
In conclusion, we would like to emphasize that our position at today’s vote only reflects our reaction to the penholders’ unscrupulous work on the draft. This confirms yet again the most serious doubts as to the impartiality of delegations who hold pen on country-specific files on UNSC agenda.
This being said, we continue to support MINURSO, which plays a key stabilizing role in terms of creating a favorable environment on the ground for the resumption of dialogue between Morocco and the Polisario Front and the advancement of the peace process. We also reiterate our support for the Head of MINURSO, Mr.Alexander Ivanko.