The calm on the ground achieved by MINURSO allows progress in the political sphere [fr]
Western Sahara / Renewal of MINURSO
Explanation of vote by Mr. François Delattre, Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations
Security Council – 31 October 2018
At the outset, I would like to thank the American penholder for its in-depth consultations and efforts to take all views on board in drafting the text. I will focus on three issues.
First, France welcomes the adoption of resolution 2440 (2018), which renews the mandate of the United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO). The consultations held on 11 October with the Special Representative of the Secretary- General for Western Sahara, Colin Stewart, emphasized the key role played by MINURSO to maintain calm and preserve the ceasefire in the area. As underscored in the Secretary-General’s report (S/2018/889), the force plays an indispensable preventive role in maintaining regional stability. That essential point was also highlighted by the independent assessment.
I would like to pay tribute to the Special Representative and his teams who, through their presence, are mitigating tensions and helping to reduce the risk of escalation. On the basis of these elements, France reiterates its commitment to a stable mandate of 12 months. The six-month renewal contained in resolution 2440 (2018), which we have just adopted, must remain exceptional, as it is our responsibility not to disrupt the management and planning of the Mission’s resources. This is as true for MINURSO as it is for the other operations mandated by the Council. The shortening of mandates seems to be a false good idea that has no real effect on the political process but could weaken the United Nations system. Maintaining an annual framework is important to ensuring the stability of peacekeeping operations.
It is the calm on the ground that MINURSO has achieved that makes progress in the political sphere possible. We therefore welcome the absence of a major threat to the ceasefire, as acknowledged in the resolution, and the improved situation on the ground since our last renewal. The Council sent clear messages in April (see S/PV.8246) that have borne fruit. Our role is to be vigilant in recalling that the ceasefire must continue to be fully respected.
Finally, in the context of a more peaceful atmosphere, the Council fully supports the efforts of the Personal Envoy in the political process, which is also illustrated by the text adopted today. Following the success of his visit to the region in late June and early July, the Personal Envoy of the Secretary- General for Western Sahara, Mr. Horst Köhler, laid the groundwork for bringing Morocco, the Frente Popular para la Liberación de Saguía el-Hamra y de Río de Oro, Algeria and Mauritania together at a preliminary round of talks in early December in Geneva. The resolution also welcomes the positive response of these four actors to the invitation to participate in this discussion.
To that end, it will be very useful for the Personal Envoy to continue his advance consultations so as to better prepare this exercise. We encourage the participants to play a constructive role therein, and recall that, for France, the autonomy plan proposed by Morocco constitutes a serious basis for future discussions. I welcome the fact that the Security Council is lending its full support to the dynamic I have just recalled.