Explanation of vote by First Deputy Permanent Representative Dmitry Polyanskiy after UNSC vote on a draft resolution on renewal of the mandate of MINURSO
Russia abstained on the draft resolution on mandate renewal of the United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO) that was put forward by the US delegation. The process of elaboration and endorsement of this document was not consultative. None of our principled and well-grounded comments, i.a. of a compromise nature, that we communicated to the US side, was taken onboard. A number of meaningful proposals by other Council members were also left unheeded. As a result, the draft resolution turned out badly misbalanced. This situation raises our further doubts as to whether the penholders of country-specific files in the Security Council implement their obligations in an impartial manner.
In the recent years, resolutions on renewal of MINURSO mandate have received amendments that in our view affected the unbiased and non-prejudiced approach to the issue of Western Sahara. We disagreed with that edition of the resolution in the past, and we could not support it today.
The resolution in front of us does not reflect the real situation on the ground with the settlement in Western Sahara, and so it will hardly promote the efforts of Secretary-General’s Personal Envoy for Western Sahara S. de Mistura aimed at recovery of negotiations between Morocco and Frente Polisario with a view to elaborating a mutually acceptable solution.
We also have questions to the vague language of the resolution in the part where it defines the parties to conflict and participants of the settlement process. Numerous references to the format of “roundtables” which used to limit mediator efforts of the Personal Envoy and have lost their relevance also appear inappropriate. At the same time, the text of the resolution does not dwell on the remaining problems with access of UN mechanisms to the territory of Western Sahara, i.a. for the purposes of providing humanitarian assistance to the local civilians.
We reiterate our consistent position on Western Saharan settlement. We stand for adopting a well-balanced and impartial stance, we support the efforts of the Personal Envoy in organizing direct talks of Morocco and Frente Polisario. As a UNSC P5 member and part of the Group of Friends of Western Sahara, we maintain contacts with all stakeholders and engage with Moroccans, Polisario, Algerians, and Mauritanians. We call on all sides to abstain from unilateral actions that could impede resumption of a targeted political dialogue.
The final settlement formula needs to be based on mutually acceptable solutions that should promote a just political settlement in Western Sahara that should satisfy both Morocco and Polisario and envisage the right of the people of Western Sahara for self-determination in the framework of the procedures consistent with the principles and purposes of the UN Charter.
In conclusion, let me stress that our position at this vote is induced solely by our disagreement with some language of the resolution that we mentioned. So this abstention is rather our assessment of the work of the penholders. As for the UN Mission in Western Sahara, we unfailingly support its work that plays a stabilizing role in creating favorable conditions on the ground in order to facilitate resumption of a dialogue between Morocco and Frente Polisario and promote the peace process. We also fully support the efforts of SRSG Ivanko, head of MINURSO.