Namibia, “particularly concerned about Africa’s last colony”, calls for a review to Minurso’s mandate

New York (United Nations) 28 October 2021 (SPS)- The Permanent Representative of the Republic of Namibia to the UN, Amb. Neville Gertze, stressed Yesterday before the Joint General Debate of the 4th Committee, his country’s particular concerns about the situation in Western Sahara, calling for thorough review of the UN Mission’s mandate in this last colony in Africa.

“We are particularly concerned about Africa’s last colony, Western Sahara, and the plight of the Saharawi people, He stressed, adding that “With the current mandate up for renewal at the end of this week, deep reflection is required on how the mandate can yield more meaningful results.”

He recalled that “The UN has invested a significant amount of resources in MINURSO, a Mission established in 1991 in accordance with the mutually agreed settlement plan for the primary purpose of facilitating a referendum,” hence the need for serious efforts to finish the UN duty in Western Sahara.

He specifically affirmed that his “delegation specifically highlights this taking into account the flared tensions and the ongoing armed conflict between the two parties,” calling on the two parties “to honour the provisions of the ceasefire, show restraint and work towards finding a peaceful resolution to the conflict.”

He further welcomed the appointment of Alexander Ivanko as

the new Special Representative for MINURSO and of Staffan de Mistura as the new Personal Envoy of the UN Secretary General, hoping that “these appointments will lend themselves to the advancement of lasting and sustainable peace between Western Sahara and the Kingdom of Morocco in accordance with the UN Settlement Proposals and various UN and AU Resolutions.”

On another hand, Ambassador Gertze noted “the progressive stance taken by the US Congress to veto the establishment of a US Consulate in Dakhla,” considering that “this positive development shows respect for human rights and affirms commitment to the right to self-determination in Western Sahara.”

In the same vein, he took note “of the recent pronouncement by the EU Court of Justice concerning their understanding of the status and territorial sovereignty of the two parties in this long unresolved case of decolonisation.”

He concluded by reiterating Namibia’s “longstanding call for the Special Committee to undertake a visiting mission to Western Sahara. This was strongly amplified by several petitioners who spoke before this Committee.”

He considered in this respect that “a visiting Mission would move us away from an abstract to realistic perspective of the situation on the ground. Unresolved issues like the question of Western Sahara are the reason the relevance of the UN is questioned. We must ensure that as Member States, we hold each other accountable to Charter obligations and the principles of international law,” he said. (SPS)

 

090/500/60 (SPS)