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

Ambassador Richard Mills
U.S. Deputy Representative to the United Nations
New York, New York
October 29, 2021


Thank you, Mr. President.

The United States commends the Council for reaffirming its support for MINURSO and warmly welcoming the Secretary-General’s recent appointment of Staffan de Mistura as the new Personal Envoy for Western Sahara with the adoption of this resolution.

We regret that not all members of the Council could unite in support of renewing the mandate today. We believe the Council is stronger when it is united, and that such unity greatly enhances the UN’s efforts to achieve peace. We look forward to working with all members of the Council to support the parties in finding a lasting peace.

We call on the parties themselves to demonstrate their commitment to peace by engaging in the political process, without preconditions and in good faith, and by taking steps to de-escalate tensions and cease hostilities. The United States intends to do all in its power to help Mr. de Mistura and the political process he now leads to succeed.

We urge the parties, neighboring states, and international partners, including the entire Council, to engage constructively and in good faith with him. The appointment of a new Personal Envoy presents an overdue opportunity to revitalize the UN-led political process and for the parties to turn a corner on the path to achieving a just, lasting, and mutually acceptable political solution in accordance with relevant UN resolutions.

In support of the Personal Envoy, the United States will continue to consult privately about how best to achieve a realistic, practicable, enduring, and mutually acceptable solution to the conflict based on compromise. This political solution is vital to promote a peaceful and prosperous future for the people of the region. We continue to view Morocco’s autonomy plan as serious, credible, and realistic, and one potential approach to satisfy these aspirations.

In renewing MINURSO’s mandate, the Council recognizes the daily work of peacekeepers to fulfill this mission’s mandate in monitoring the situation, de-escalating tensions, and conducting dangerous mine clearance operations. We urge the parties to fully cooperate with Special Representative Ivanko and the entire MINURSO mission. It is essential that MINURSO ground convoys, air assets, and personnel enjoy guaranteed freedom of movement throughout the territory.

In conclusion, Mr. President, the United States hopes today marks a step forward toward a political solution that can deliver concrete results for the people of Western Sahara. Whether that proves the case is ultimately up to the parties themselves. But all Council members have an obligation to encourage active and constructive dialogue, as reflected in the resolution that we have just adopted.

Thank you.