Explanation of vote by Sweden following adoption of resolution 2414 on the renewal of the mandate for MINURSO

Explanation of vote by Ambassador Carl Skau on behalf of Sweden following adoption of resolution 2414 on the renewal of the mandate for MINURSO, 27 April 2018, New York.

Mr President,

Sweden voted in favour of today's resolution because of our support for the Secretary-General's ambition to relaunch the UN-led political process and our firm belief that this must be our main priority. Indeed, the aim of reaching a just, lasting and mutually acceptable political solution, that will provide for the self-determination of the people of Western Sahara, remains as valid as ever. It is now time to turn this vision into reality.

Firstly, this resolution offers an opportunity to break the political deadlock that has plagued the question of Western Sahara for a decade now. For many years, this Council has recognised that the status quo is not acceptable. However, there has been a lack of political will to move the political process forward. We believe that this resolution signals that business as usual is no longer an option.

Secondly, this resolution expresses its full support for MINURSO, which plays a key role in a challenging environment. It also supports the efforts of the Personal Envoy of the Secretary-General, President Horst Köhler. Since his appointment, he has impressed all of us by his dedication, knowledge and experience.

Thirdly, this resolution makes clear that women and youth must be fully included in the political process and that they have a meaningful role to play.

Fourthly, the resolution calls upon the neighbouring states to make important contributions to the political process and to increase their engagement in the negotiating process.

Fifthly, the resolution encourages the parties to cooperate further with UNHCR. It also highlights the plight of the Sahrawi refugees, the insufficient funding and the risks associated with the reduction of food assistance. This resolution urges the international community to provide more funding.

Finally, the resolution strongly encourages an enhanced co-operation of the parties with the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, including visits to the region, as none have taken place since 2015.

That said, Mr President, there are new elements in this resolution, concerning actions taken by the parties, that we find lack sufficient balance, and do not fully reflect the developments on the ground. The situation must be properly re-evaluated after six months, when this Council will again review MINURSO's mandate.

On procedure, we think that the Council is always stronger when it speaks with one voice. We seek unity, not for the sake of unity, but because our decisions will resonate even stronger. If some delegations' concerns, which were of relatively minor character, had been considered, we may well have reached consensus on this resolution.

Mr President,

Over the last couple of weeks, we have witnessed an escalation of rhetoric and tension on the ground. It is crucial that the parties demonstrate restraint and avoid taking provocative actions. We urge them to de-escalate and to re-direct their attention towards advancing the political process.

Mr President,

We need to resolve one of the most longstanding disputes on the agenda of the United Nations and address the plight of the people of Western Sahara once and for all.

The vision of reaching a just, lasting and mutually acceptable political solution, which will provide for the self-determination of the people of Western Sahara, now seems a little more within reach.

Despite the shortcomings in the text, we believe that this resolution is a step in the right direction towards a resumed negotiating process. Without any doubt much hard work remains, in particular for the parties who will face tough choices ahead. In order to advance the political process, the parties need to renew their commitment in a spirit of realism and compromise. They now have a window of six months to resume negotiations without preconditions and in good faith. We hope that they will shoulder this important responsibility.

Today, we have sent a clear signal that the Council's patience cannot last forever and that appropriate conclusions must be drawn in the case of absence of progress. In that regard, we note all possible solutions must be kept on the table. This includes the holding of a free and fair referendum.

I thank you Mr President.

Contact

Lisa Laskaridis
Head of Press and Communication, Permanent Mission of Sweden to the UN
Phone +1 212 583 2543
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email to Lisa Laskaridis