Permanent Mission of the Russian Federation to the United Nations

Permanent Mission of the Russian Federation to the United Nations

Statement by Deputy Permanent Representative Vladimir Safronkov after UN Security Council vote on extending the mandate of MINURSO

Mr. President

In the context of international efforts to settle the issue of Western Sahara, we would like to reiterate Russia’s well-established and coherent position. We stand for well-balanced and unbiased policy for Western Saharan settlement, support direct negotiations between Morocco and the Polisario Front. 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 are convinced that only a mutually acceptable solution that is based on UN resolutions and complies with procedures that correlate to provisions and principles of the UN Charter can be sustainable and viable.

We support the activity of the United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO), which comprises a corps of Russian military observers. MINURSO plays a crucial stabilizing role in the region. Its effective involvement creates favorable background that helps to advance settlement in Western Sahara.

We give a high assessment to the work of ex-President of Germany H.Köhler, who in his capacity as Personal Envoy of the Secretary-General did a lot to maintain dialogue between the sides. We anticipate appointment of a new Personal Envoy of UNSG, as well as progress in preparation of another round of talks on settlement in Western Sahara with participation of neighbor countries in Geneva. We believe everyone who is invited should become part of constructive dialogue without any pre-conditions, and with commitment to achieve mutually acceptable solutions.

We realize that tasks that are included in MINURSO mandate still need to be solved. At the same time, we believe relevant resolutions should not try to pre-define the direction of negotiations held under UN auspices or to amend previously agreed approaches that had been endorsed by previous resolutions.

Unfortunately, in recent years the resolution that extended MINURSO mandate has undergone some amendments that in our view damage the unprejudiced and unbiased approach of the Council. Previously agreed parameters should not be blurred. I mean in particular those parameters that outline a model of settlement and stipulate the need to come up with a mutually acceptable solution that should guarantee self-determination of the people of Western Sahara in the framework of procedures that correlate to provisions and principles of the UN Charter. We never agreed to such modifications before, and we cannot support them now.

Replacement of basic principles of settlement in Western Sahara with general remarks about the need to stick to realistic approaches and be ready for compromise – this is something that creates ambiguity, undermines trust to our work and obscures the prospects of political process.

Russia will remain an unprejudiced and well-balanced actor in terms of Western Saharan settlement, who keeps contacts with all regional sides. We will take robust effort to support peace process. However, we believe the solution should be found by the sides, and it should meet the interests of regional stability and security. We should not let extremist forces make use of vacuum in the peace process and lack of regulation of this problem, because this may negatively impact the military and political situation in the entire region. We should avoid such a scenario, therefore all external stakeholders should consolidate their positions.

Thank you.