South Africa on Western Sahara resolution: “Security Council should never permit international legality to be overturned by political reality”

New York (United Nations) 31 October 2020 (SPS)- South Africa considered that the “Security Council should never permit international legality to be overturned by political reality” in the treatment of the question of decolonization in Western Sahara.

In its explanation of vote during the discussion by the members of the Council of a new resolution on Western Sahara, South Africa, estimated that “Our conviction remains that a resolution of the Western Sahara matter lies with upholding international legality and that the parties should conduct themselves within the confines of adopted Security Council resolutions and international norms. This Council should never permit international legality to be overturned by political reality. Doing so would undermine the very foundation of the rules based international system that the United Nations is built upon.”

The text recalled that “South Africa fully supports the United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO) whose primary mandate, as  established in Security Council resolution 690 (1991) and all subsequent resolutions, is the holding of a free and fair referendum on self-determination for the people of Western Sahara.”

The African country criticized the Council, stressing that it believes the Council “has fallen short of its responsibility. During our 2019-2020 UNSC term, South Africa has abstained twice on the MINURSO mandate renewal due to the substance and working methods of the Western Sahara file.”

The explanation of vote considered that “it has been disconcerting to South Africa that the Security Council working methods on the Western Sahara file has been uniquely biased and non-transparent. This is a disturbing trend given that it is the duty of the Security Council to objectively assist the parties to move towards a mutually acceptable, negotiated settlement and treat the interests and concerns of both parties in a balanced and equal manner.” (SPS)

090/500/60 (SPS)