Sierra Leone Statement at the UN Security Council on the C24 Substantive Session on Western Sahara

Madam Chair,  

At the outset, my delegation would like to acknowledge your continued commitment to the work of this committee, especially with the successful conclusion of the Caribbean regional seminar, held in Caracas. Through you, madam Chair, we also express our deepest appreciation to the Government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela for their gracious hospitality. 

The substantive session of this Committee has always created a platform for inclusive dialogue in identifying options towards the realization of resolution 1514 and the fulfillment of the mandate of the Special Committee as it relates to the 17 Non-Self-Governing Territories and the Question of Puerto Rico. The relevance of addressing these territories on a case-by-case basis is even more relevant as the needs of each territory differ.  

Madam Chair, 

On the “Question of Western Sahara” Sierra Leone expresses its unwavering support for the ongoing United Nations political process under the auspices of the UN Secretary-General facilitated by his Personal Envoy for Western Sahara Mr. Staffan De Mistura aimed at reaching a realistic, practicable, mutually acceptable, and durable political solution based on compromise. 

Given the dynamics of the conflict, we are of the view that a resumption of the roundtable process, in the same format and with the same participants in accordance with Security Council resolution 2703 will enhance communication and lead to a peaceful settlement of the dispute. Therefore, it is imperative to find all possible ways to resolve the impasse by leveraging the relevant Security Council resolutions adopted since 2007. 

Accordingly, Sierra Leone supports the Moroccan Autonomy Initiative which the Security Council has described as serious and credible to move the process forward in its successive resolutions since 2007.  

Sierra Leone welcomes the socio-economic and infrastructural development in the Western Sahara, which has led to the empowerment of the population and improvement of the Human Development indexes in the region. 

My delegation affirms its support to MINURSO and its contribution to creating and maintaining calm and stability in the region, particularly the facilitation of negotiations for advancing the political process. We emphasize the need for parties to the conflict to continue supporting the Mission in the performance of its ceasefire monitoring duties as mandated by Security Council resolution 2703. We acknowledge the progress made by the Kingdom of Morocco in strengthening cooperation and communication with MINURSO. 

Further, parties to the conflict are encouraged to pursue their efforts towards maintaining the ceasefire agreement and we reject any renunciation of this agreement from any quarter, which will be a violation of resolutions adopted by the Security Council and an impediment to a conducive environment needed for the resumption of the political process. 

We also call on parties to the conflict to refrain from actions or attacks that threaten the safety and security of all civilians and UN personnel, noting that the safety and security of civilians and UN personnel is non-negotiable. We encourage the parties to sustain and prioritize their respective efforts to enhance the promotion and protection of the human rights of all persons. 

We therefore commend the steps and initiatives taken by the Kingdom of Morocco, and the role played by the National Council on Human Rights Commissions operating in Dakhla and Laayoune, and the Kingdom Morocco’s interaction with Special Procedures of the United Nations Human Rights Council as highlighted in Resolution 2703. 

The humanitarian situation of the refugees in the Tindouf camps and elsewhere should be given due attention by ensuring that the basic needs of refugees are met and that their rights are respected. We support the strong request by the Security Council resolution 2703 for registration in the Tindouf refugee camps and emphasize the importance of efforts to be made in this regard. 

Let me close by calling on parties to the conflict to engage in the ongoing political process in good faith, the spirit of compromise, and in the interest of the people of Western Sahara. 

I thank you.  

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