Explanation of vote by Sweden following the adoption of Resolution 2440 on the MINURSO
Explanation of vote delivered by Ambassador Irina Schoulgin Nyoni on behalf of Sweden following the adoption of United Nations Security Council resolution 2440 renewing the mandate of the United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO), 31 October 2018, New York.
Sweden voted in favour of today’s resolution as it extends the mandate of MINURSO and expresses full support for the Secretary-General and his Personal Envoy and for the resumption of a negotiations process, beginning with the roundtable meeting in Geneva later this year.
When Sweden entered this Council as an elected member almost two years ago, it was with a firm conviction that the UN-led political process – dormant for almost a decade – needed to be revived.
However, this was far from given. The Council was faced with a dangerous stand-off in Guerguerat, which threatened the ceasefire and could have led to renewed hostilities. MINURSO was hampered in carrying out its mandate, as its full functionality had not been restored. And the level of trust between the parties and the UN was at a low.
I think everyone in this Chamber recognises that we have come a long way since.
A new Secretary-General decided to directly engage with the parties, paving the way for the restoration of the full functionality of MINURSO and eventually a solution to the Guerguerat crisis.
The Secretary-General’s ambition to relaunch the UN-led political process with a new dynamic and new spirit led to the appointment of Horst Köhler as his Personal Envoy. We pay tribute to his tremendous efforts as well as his personal dedication.
Following the Personal Envoy’s consultations with the parties and the neighbouring states over the last year, we now witness preparations for a roundtable meeting in December. We welcome the positive response from all those invited, as a positive sign of a renewed commitment to the UN-led political process.
As a member of this Council, our ambition was to contribute to breaking the deadlock on the question of Western Sahara and moving beyond the status quo.
It is in this spirit that we have worked in support of the UN, MINURSO and Personal Envoy Köhler. We have tried to bring more attention to the humanitarian situation and the insufficient funding for Sahrawi refugees. We have advocated for the full inclusion of women and youth in the political process. And we have encouraged an enhanced co-operation with the OHCHR, including further visits to the region.
Resolution 2351 turned the page following a year of many challenges. Resolution 2414 paved the way for a resumed UN-led political process. And resolution 2440 sustains the positive momentum towards advancing direct negotiations.
MINURSO has our unwavering support, as it upholds the ceasefire and serves as a conflict prevention tool. It also plays a key role to support a UN-led political process that is finally under way.
While a strong and effective mission remains essential, our shared goal must be to ultimately make MINURSO obsolete by reaching a just, lasting and mutually acceptable political solution, which will provide for the self-determination of the people of Western Sahara. This ultimate aim remains as valid as ever.
Finally, we want to commend the United States for their extraordinary leadership on Western Sahara. This is a question that has suffered from the lack of attention – as well as political will – for far too long. This clearly is no longer the case.
There is now a real opportunity to find a sustainable political solution and resolve one of the most longstanding disputes on the agenda of the UN. This must be seized to end the plight of the people of Western Sahara and to realise their legitimate aspirations.
We urge the parties and the neighbouring states to continue to constructively engage with the Secretary-General and his Personal Envoy without preconditions and in good faith, as they prepare for direct talks in Geneva and beyond.
I thank you.