Permanent Mission of the Russian Federation to the United Nations

Permanent Mission of the Russian Federation to the United Nations

Explanation of Vote on a draft resolution on renewal of the mandate of MINURSO

The Russian Federation abstained during the vote on the draft resolution on renewal of the mandate of the United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO), put forward by the United States. This is due to the fact that the process of elaboration and endorsement of this decision was neither transparent nor consultative. None of our principled and well-substantiated considerations, including those of a compromise nature, that we repeatedly brought to attention of the US side, was taken into account. A whole range of practical proposals articulated by other Council members was also left unanswered. As a result, the text remains unbalanced. All this adds to doubts regarding arrangements on informal penholdership of country files at the Security Council.

In recent years, resolutions on renewal of MINURSO mandate received amendments that, in our view, affect Security Council’s unbiased and impartial approach to the issue of Western Sahara. Substitution of fundamental principles of Western Saharan settlement by general remarks about the need to stick to realistic approaches and seek compromise produces ambiguity, undermines trust in our work, and obscures prospects for resuming political process. The attempt to boost the peace process by using language that blurs previously agreed parameters of Western Saharan settlement would rather bring the opposite result. We had not agreed to this amendment before, and we were not able to support it today.

Once again, we would like to reiterate our consistent position with regard to Western Saharan settlement. We stand for a well-balanced and unbiased approach, support direct negotiations between Morocco and the Frente Polisario. In our capacity as Permanent Member of the UN Security Council and a member of the Group of Friends of Western Sahara, we keep active contacts with all interested stakeholders – we work with Moroccans, Polisarians, Algerians and Mauritanians. We call upon all parties concerned to refrain from any unilateral steps which could undermine efforts to re-launch substantive political dialogue.

We are convinced that only a political solution based on relevant UNSC resolutions can overcome disputes and ensure just and sustainable Western Saharan settlement. The final formula must be based on compromise and mutual agreement of both Moroccans and Polisarians and envisage self-determination of the people of Western Sahara in the framework of procedures and in line with the goals and principles of the UN Charter. This concept is central to the Western Saharan settlement, and it must not be replaced by other formulas.

Like other UNSC Member-States, we look forward to the appointment of a new Secretary-General’s Personal Envoy, and to progress in resuming the negotiation process between sides to Western Saharan settlement
with participation of their neighboring states. However, we have to warn that the document adopted today may, contrary to the expectations of its authors, have a negative effect on the efforts of the future Personal Envoy.

Russia will remain an unbiased actor for Western Saharan settlement, who keeps contacts with all regional sides. We reiterate our support for MINURSO that plays preeminent stabilizing role in creating favorable environment on the ground for resuming dialogue between Morocco and Frente Polisario, and in promoting the peace process.