Explanation of Vote on the Mandate Renewal of the UN Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara

U.S. Mission to the United Nations
New York, New York
October 30, 2020


The United States commends the Council for affirming its support for MINURSO with today’s mandate renewal. While we share fellow Council members’ frustration with the lack of progress on the political front, we would like to highlight the importance of the daily work of the peacekeepers. In renewing MINURSO’s mandate, the Council is recognizing the success of this mission in deescalating tensions and maintaining overall calm, conducting dangerous mine clearance operations, supporting humanitarian operations, and preventing the spread of COVID-19.

The Council will not overlook its responsibility to ensure progress towards a just, lasting, and mutually acceptable political solution. We remain concerned with the prolonged absence of a Personal Envoy. It has been almost a year and a half since President Koehler’s departure, and the vacancy has contributed to the lack of progress towards a political solution. We urge the Secretary-General to fill this position soon.

We view Morocco’s autonomy plan as serious, credible, and realistic, and it represents one potential approach to satisfy the aspirations of the people in Western Sahara to run their own affairs with peace and dignity.

We call on the parties to demonstrate their commitment to a realistic, practicable, and enduring political solution, based on compromise, by resuming negotiations without preconditions and in good faith. Entrenched positions must not stand in the way of progress.

In the meantime, we expect that all parties will respect their obligations under the ceasefire, cooperate fully with MINURSO, and refrain from any actions that could destabilize the situation or threaten the UN process. We call for all parties to exercise restraint, particularly in light of recent events in Gueguerat – which pose a threat to peace and stability in the region – and the general increase in violations highlighted in the Secretary-General’s most recent report. Moreover, unilateral changes to the status quo on the ground will not help us get to a lasting and peaceful solution.

This mandate renewal affirms our confidence not only in the peacekeepers, but also in the mission’s current leadership. We strongly urge the parties to meet with Special Representative to the Secretary General Colin Stewart and cooperate with him, his staff, and the entire MINURSO mission.