Explanation of Vote on the Adoption of the UN Security Council Mandate Renewal on the United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara

Michael Barkin
Senior Policy Advisor
U.S. Mission to the United Nations
New York, New York
October 30, 2019


Thank you, Mr. President.

We are pleased with the Council’s strong statement of support for MINURSO and its mandate. We believe that the time has come for a just, lasting, and mutually acceptable political solution, which will provide for the self-determination of the people of Western Sahara. While we are disappointed that some members of this Council chose to abstain yet again, we know the Council is united in its conviction that the political process must continue without delay.

We would like to express our appreciation to President Koehler, and his team for their historic achievements in bringing Morocco, the Frente Polisario, Algeria, and Mauritania together. I would also like to thank SRSG Colin Stewart and the entire MINURSO team for their efforts. We urge the parties to work constructively with the MINURSO Mission. Furthermore, we look forward to the Secretary-General’s appointment of a new Personal Envoy at the earliest opportunity. This will take the political process forward and ensure that the momentum generated by President Koehler is not lost.

There is one thing I’d like make clear, though: the renewal of MINURSO for twelve months in this unique circumstance does not mean a return to business as usual. And so, the United States calls on the parties to dialogue in good faith and without preconditions, remembering the central importance of including women and young people. We also urge those countries with influence in Western Sahara to think creatively about how to move the peace process forward so that we can support a new Personal Envoy, once in place.

A lasting breakthrough will require the willingness of all involved to approach negotiations with a genuine desire to make progress.

Thank you.