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Botswana to Fourth Committee: Delays in organizing a referendum in Western Sahara “is a result to deliberate obstructive and destabilizing actions”

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New York (United Nations) 28 October 2021 (SPS)- The Permanent Representative of Botswana to the UN, Amb. Collin V. Kelapile, stressed in his statement Yesterday before the Joint General Debate of the 4th Committee, that the delays witnessed in the organization of a referendum in Western Sahara is “a result to deliberate and destabilizing actions” from Morocco.
“On the question of Western Sahara, the last case of Decolonization in Africa, we are concerned that the referendum that the UN promised the Saharawi people remains elusive. We note that the delay is largely a result of deliberate obstructive and destabilizing actions,” he regretted.
He added that “Such has been the case in relation to the circumstances that led to the collapse of the 1991 Ceasefire on 13 November 2020,” when the Moroccan army attacked a group of Saharawi civilians in Guerguarat region, South-West Western Sahara.
He further indicated that “it is imperative that the party that bears primary responsibility in the conflict takes necessary steps to deescalate hostilities and cease provocative actions in order to pave the way for the Secretary General’s Envoy to Western Sahara, Mr. Staffan De Mistura, to relaunch the peace process and resume substantive negotiations whose ultimate objective will be to allow the Saharawi people to exercise their inalienable right to self-determination in a free and fair referendum.”
He also estimated that “the efforts of the Personal Envoy will be complemented by that of the African Union, following the latter’s decision to reactivate its role in the Western Sahara. The AU’s reengagement on the matter is a significant step that consolidates the historical role of the OAU/AU as guarantor of the UN-OAU Settlement Plan, which was accepted by both parties in 1988.”
Botswana remained committed to the UN efforts to the completion of the UN decolonization agenda, he stressed “as we begin the Fourth International Decade for the Eradication of Colonialism (2021-2030).”
“we must recommit to eliminating colonialism in all its forms and manifestations, in accordance with the principles set forth in the United Nations Charter, the objectives of the Declaration on Decolonization and other relevant UN resolutions.”
Many countries tackled the issue of Western Sahara in their statements before the General Debate supporting a lasting and just solution that provides for the Saharawi people’s right to self-determination. (SPS)
090/500/60 (SPS)