Naledi Pandor: South Africa abstained on SC resolution on Western Sahara because it undermines principles of the UN Charter

Pretoria (South Africa) 19 November 2019 (SPS)- The South African Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Dr Naledi Pandor, indicated in a statement to the Press yesterday, that her country abstained from voting in favour of the recent UN Security Council’s resolution on Western Sahara last October 30, because it undermines fundamental principles of the UN Charter.

Commenting on South Africa’s Presidency of the United Nations Security Council during the month of October, Mrs. Pandor recalled that on Western Sahara “South Africa and Russia abstained, as we did in April 2019, as we were of the view that the text of the resolution was not balanced and fundamental principles of the UN Charter, such as impartiality of the UNSC and self-determination were being undermined with qualifiers such as “realistic” and “compromise”.

She further indicated that “South Africa raised concerns about the negotiation process, which is different from other resolutions in that the Group of Friends, made up of five countries, (US, UK, Russia, Spain, France) and not the entire UNSC membership negotiates the MINURSO resolution before it is presented to the Council, virtually as a fait accompli.”

In reaction to that resolution, Polisario Front declared that “by failing to follow through on its commitment to end the status quo and demand that Morocco terminate its illegal occupation of Western Sahara, the Security Council has missed another opportunity to prevent the UN peace process from collapsing. In the face of the UN Secretariat and the Security Council’s repeated failure to prevent Morocco from dictating the terms of the peace process and the UN’s role in Western Sahara, the Frente POLISARIO is left with no option but to reconsider its engagement in the peace process as a whole.”

The Security Council adopted resolution 2494 last October 30th, extending the mandate of the United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO) by 12 months until 30 October 2020. The resolution was adopted by 13 votes for and 2 abstentions. (SPS)

090/500/60 (SPS)