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POLISARIO addresses a letter to UN Member States on US outgoing President’s proclamation regarding Western Sahara

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New York (United Nations) 17 December 2020 (SPS) -Member of the National Secretariat of the Frente POLISARIO and Representative at the United Nations, Dr. Sidi Mohamed Omar, sent a letter to Member States of the United Nations today containing the views of the Frente POLISARIO on the proclamation issued by the outgoing US President regarding Western Sahara on 10 December 2020.
The letter stresses that the decision taken by President Donald Trump violates the UN Charter and UN resolutions including Security Council resolutions that the United States itself drafted and approved over the past decades. This regrettable proclamation also distances itself from the traditional US policy regarding Western Sahara, says the letter.
The letter further stresses that the proclamation disregards UN General Assembly resolutions including resolution 2625 (XXV) of 1970, which stipulates that no territorial acquisition resulting from the threat or use of force shall be recognised as legal, and therefore it constitutes a violation of International Humanitarian Law and the erga omnes obligations of States not to engage in any act or in any form of assistance that may have the effect of consolidating an illegal situation created by a serious breach of the basic principles of International Law.
The letter underscores that the legal status of Western Sahara is unequivocally clear, recalling that the International Court of Justice (ICJ), which is the United Nations principal judicial organ, issued an advisory opinion on Western Sahara on 16 October 1975 in which it ruled that there was no tie of territorial sovereignty between the Territory of Western Sahara and the Kingdom of Morocco.
By rebutting Morocco’s claims of sovereignty over Western Sahara, “the ICJ established clearly that the sovereignty over the Territory was vested in the Sahrawi people who have the right to decide, through the free and genuine expression of their will, the status of the Territory in accordance with UN General Assembly resolution 1514 (XV) and other resolutions relating to decolonisation”, the letter underlines.
The letter underscores that the United Nations and the Organisation of African Unity (now the African Union) as well as the European Union have never recognised Morocco’s forceful and illegal annexation of parts of Western Sahara whose decolonisation was thwarted owing to Morocco’s military invasion of the Territory on 31 October 1975, which was deeply deplored by the UN General Assembly in its resolution 34/37 of 21 November 1979 and resolution 35/19 of 11 November 1980 and other relevant resolutions
Based on these solid legal facts, the letter concludes that the “the unilateral action carried out by the outgoing US Presidentregarding the sovereignty of Western Sahara lies outside the purview of the United Nations Charter and International Lawand therefore it is null and void and will have no effect whatsoever”. The letter recalls the strong voices from the American Congress, civil society and the political arena that have expressed their shock and disappointment regarding this attempt to trade away the self-determination of the people of Western Sahara and called on the incoming President to reverse Trump’s decision.
The letter also recalls the reactions stated by the UN Secretary-General, the African Union (AU) and the European Union (EU) and many countries, including permanent members of the Security Council, who have reaffirmed their positions regarding Western Sahara and their support for the UN resolutions on the self-determination of the people of Western Sahara, with some countries describing US President’s decision as a violation of basic principles of International Law.
The letter points out that all efforts deployed by the international community over the past decades since the beginning of the implementation of the UN-OAU Settlement Plan in 1991 have been met with Morocco’s obstructionism and rejection. The letter stresses that “the decision taken by President Trump hampers the UN and AU efforts to achieve a peaceful solution to the question of Western Sahara. It also encourages the Moroccan occupying state to persist in its illegal occupation and aggressive actions that have already led to its military aggression on the Sahrawi Liberated Territory on 13 November 2020, thus ending the ceasefire in place since 1991”.
In concluding, the letter expresses the hope of the Government of the Sahrawi Republic (SADR) that the incoming US Government would reverse the unilateral decision made by the outgoing US President and ensure that the US would play a constructive role in the international efforts aimed at achieving a peaceful and lasting solution based on the exercise by the Sahrawi people of their inalienable right to self-determination and independence. (SPS)
090/500/60 (SPS)