Explanation of vote by First Deputy Permanent Representative Dmitry Polyanskiy after UNSC vote on a draft resolution renewing the mandate of the UN Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara
The Russian Federation abstained during the vote on the draft resolution on renewal of the mandate of the UN Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO) put forward by the US delegation.
Consultations on the draft did not take into account our reasonable comments and our recommended compromise solutions. A number of constructive proposals by other UNSC members also was left unattended. For this reason, today’s resolution does not reflect the objective reality of Western Saharan settlement, that has evolved since the military escalation in November last year; and it will hardly add to the efforts made by Personal Envoy of the Secretary-General Staffan de Mistura to resume the negotiation process and achieve a mutually acceptable solution providing for the self-determination of the people of Western Sahara under the UN Charter.
Besides, the main problem remains unsolved: in recent years, the resolutions that renewed MINURSO mandate contained language that replaced internationally endorsed parameters of Western Saharan settlement with general remarks about the need to stick to the so-called realistic approaches and be ready for some sort of compromise. Such signals create ambiguity, undermine trust in Security Council’s work and obscure prospects for resumption of a direct dialogue. We regret that our colleagues persist in ignoring this.
We reiterate that Russia is pursuing a well-balanced and unbiased course as to Western Saharan settlement. We express support for direct talks between Morocco and Polisario Front. The final formula must be acceptable for both Moroccans and Polisarians, and envisage self-determination for the people of Western Sahara in the framework of the procedures and in line with the goals and principles of the UN Charter.
Russia will remain an unprejudiced actor in the Western Saharan settlement that maintains contacts with all sides in the region, i.a. as member of the Group of Friends of Western Sahara. We call on all sides to keep from unilateral steps and statements (some of which we heard today) that could impede resumption of a targeted political dialogue
Let me emphasize that we abstained because we disagree with the way some of the provisions of the draft resolution were formulated. Our position is rather our assessment of the work of the penholders. At the same time, we unwaveringly support the work of MINURSO that plays a key stabilizing role in creating favorable conditions on the ground that help recover dialogue between Morocco and the Polisario Front and promote the peace process.