Chinese envoy calls for thorough consultation for future MINURSO mandate renewals

New York (United Nations) 04 November 2019 (SPS)- The official Press Agency of the People's Republic of China, Xinhua, indicated that Chinese UN envoy called on Wednesday 30th October on the members of the Security Council to hold thorough consultation on future mandate renewals of the UN mission in Western Sahara (MINURSO).

“Wu Haitao, China's deputy permanent representative to the United Nations, voiced the hope in his explanatory remarks after the 15 council members voted on a draft resolution to renew the mandate for a year, till Oct. 31, 2020,” the official Agency indicated, in reference to Chinese discomfort with the process of drafting and deciding over Security Council’s resolutions on Western Sahara.

China, which voted for the resolution out of support to the peace process and in order to keep the UN Mission there, was not the only country that did not agree with the text of this new resolutions. Russia and South Africa even abstained from voting in favour of it and expressed clear disagreement with the new terminology introduced and the lack of transparency in the process of drafting.

The Russian delegate pointed to "misguided attempts" to "change previously agreed upon approaches" inscribed in Security Council resolutions extending the mandates, which "undermine the impartial and unbiased approach of council.”

South Africa’s Permanent Representative to the UN, Ambassador Matjila estimated, in his statement after the adoption of the resolution that “the current text as it stands is not balanced, and it does not provide a true reflection of the efforts undertaken by the two parties, Morocco and the Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR) as they are referred to as a Member State of the African Union, represented by the Frente Polisario, in the political process. Both the parties are Member States of the African Union.”

Wu said more thorough consultation is needed for future MINURSO mandate renewals to achieve more balanced text and unanimous approval.

He also expressed appreciation for Former Personal Envoy of the UN Secretary-General Horst Kohler, who had convened two roundtables since December 2018 with the two parties to the conflict, Morocco and the Polisario Front, in addition to the presence of the two neighbouring countries, Algeria and Mauritania after a long halt in negotiations since 2012.

He called for earlier appointment of Kohler's successor so as to resume the roundtables and push forward the Western Sahara political process. (SPS)

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