Security Council adopts resolution to extend mandate of MINURSO

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Frente Polisario

On 30 October 2023, the Security Council  adopted resolution 2703 (2023) whereby it decided to extend the mandate of the United Nations  Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO) until 31 October 2024.

In its resolution, the Security Council recalls and reaffirms all its previous resolutions on  Western Sahara and reaffirms its commitment to assist the two parties, the Frente POLISARIO  and Morocco, to achieve a just and lasting solution that will provide for the self-determination  of the people of Western Sahara. The Security Council likewise recognises the important role  played by MINURSO on the ground and the need for it to fully implement its mandate.

Moreover, the Security Council urges enhancing cooperation with the Office of the United  Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), including through facilitating visits  to the region, which is a clear message to the occupying state of Morocco that has been  preventing the OHCHR from visiting Occupied Western Sahara for the eighth consecutive  year.

The Security Council also welcomes the informal consultations convened by the Personal  Envoy with the two parties, the neighbouring countries, and other states, including permanent  members of the Council, which shows the international importance given to the question of  Western Sahara.

Nevertheless, the Security Council has missed another opportunity to adopt concrete measures  to empower MINURSO to fully implement its mandate as established in Security Council  Resolution 690 (1991). The Security Council has also failed to address decisively the  longstanding restrictions imposed by the occupying state of Morocco on MINURSO that  seriously undermine the international character as well as the credibility and impartiality of the  Mission.

The Frente POLISARIO cannot but express once again its rejection of the continued silence of  the Security Council, particularly some influential members, about the serious consequences  of the breaching and torpedoing of the 1991 ceasefire by the occupying state of Morocco, which  jeopardise not only the prospects of relaunching the peace process but also peace, security, and  stability in the entire region.

The Frente POLISARIO reiterates its categorical rejection of the fait accompli policy that the  occupying state of Morocco is trying to forcibly impose in the Occupied Sahrawi Territories  and reaffirms the unwavering and strong determination of the Sahrawi people to continue their  liberation struggle by all legitimate means to realise their national aspirations for freedom and  independence and the establishment of their sovereignty over the entire Territory of the  Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR).

The Frente POLISARIO also reiterates its commitment to the achievement of a peaceful, just,  and lasting solution to the decolonisation of Western Sahara, the last colony in Africa, based  on the free and democratic exercise by the Sahrawi people of their inalienable, non-negotiable,  and imprescriptible right to self-determination and independence in accordance with General  Assembly resolution 1514 (XV) and relevant resolutions of the United Nations and the African  Union and based on the mandate for which the United Nations Mission for the Referendum in  Western Sahara (MINURSO) was established.

In this regard, the Frente POLISARIO reaffirms that the United Nations-the Organisation of  the African Unity Settlement Plan remains the only agreement mutually accepted by the two  parties, the Frente POLISARIO and Morocco, and approved unanimously by the Security  Council in its resolution 658 (1990) and resolution 690 (1991) whereby the Council  established, under its authority, MINURSO to hold a free and fair referendum without military  or administrative constraints to enable the people of Western Sahara to exercise their  inalienable right to self-determination and independence.

The international legal framework for a peaceful and lasting solution to the decolonisation of  Western Sahara has been clearly defined by the relevant organs of the United Nations and  accepted by the two parties who formally committed themselves to it before the international  community. Therefore, there is no use trying to justify inaction and complacency, which are  unjustifiable, through the search for new “formulas” outside this framework because there is  much at stake, including peace and security in the entire region.

What is urgently needed at this critical juncture is to end impunity and to hold accountable the  party that has been obstructing the peace process and then put in place concrete measures to  enable MINURSO to fully implement its mandate. This is the only viable path leading to the  achievement of the just and durable peace and the restoration of security and stability in our  region.

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