Thank you, Mr. President. We are pleased with the Council’s strong statement of support for Personal Envoy Koehler’s efforts to achieve a just, lasting, and mutually acceptable political solution, which will provide for the self-determination of the people of Western Sahara.
We are disappointed, however, that some members of this Council still chose to abstain despite our sincere efforts to underscore Council unity towards the ongoing political process.
With this mandate renewal, the United States sought to maintain the Council’s focus on this political process. The Security Council’s objective should be to advance a timely and mutually acceptable political solution.
As the Security Council has clearly stated today with this mandate, it is crucial that the parties and the neighboring states cooperate more fully with each other and build additional trust, which is needed to achieve a political solution.
We believe the Council’s close attention to this issue has been instrumental to the political progress made over the past year.
In December, Morocco, the Frente Polisario, Algeria, and Mauritania met under UN auspices in Geneva for the first direct talks since 2012. In March, the delegations met again and began in-depth discussions on how to achieve a mutually acceptable political solution.
These ongoing consultations between the Personal Envoy and Morocco, the Frente Polisario, Algeria, and Mauritania, which aim to achieve a realistic, practicable, and enduring solution for Western Sahara, are crucial to laying the groundwork for a negotiated settlement.
As we have said before, UN peacekeeping operations must support political solutions and we will continue to assess MINURSO’s performance against this principle.
We express our full support to Personal Envoy Koehler and his team. We stand ready for his briefings to the Council as he deems appropriate.
We also thank Special Representative of the Secretary-General Colin Stewart and the members of MINURSO for their efforts.
Thank you, Mr. President.