UK position on Western Sahara and support to the right to self-determination remain unchanged

London (UK) 18 January 2021 (SPS)- UK Minister of State for the Middle East and North Africa, James Cleverly, asserted last Friday that his country’s position on Western Sahara status remains unchanged, confirming support to a political solution that provides for the right of the Saharawi people to self-determination.

In written answers to questions addressed to him by Labor MP, Alex Sobel, on the legal status of Western Sahara and UK position especially after the support by US outgoing President, Donald Trump, recognised Moroccan occupation of Western Sahara, James Cleverly indicated that “as the Foreign Secretary stated on 11 December 2020, the UK’s position remains unchanged.”

He further indicated that UK continues “to regard the status of Western Sahara as undetermined, and supports UN-led efforts to achieve a lasting and mutually acceptable political solution that provides for the self-determination of the people of Western Sahara.”

When asked about “what steps he is taking to stop breaches of international humanitarian law in Western Sahara,” the Minister indicated that “the UK fully supports the UN's efforts to secure a lasting and mutually acceptable political solution to the conflict”, adding that UK is “closely monitoring the situation in Western Sahara and call on the parties to return to the ceasefire agreement and UN-led political process.”

He also added that his government is “closely monitoring the situation in WS. We have regular discussions with the parties and remain in close contact with the MINURSO, the UN Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara.”

In fact, he added “UK officials visit WS periodically. A visit planned for 2020 was postponed due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, as was the case elsewhere.” (SPS)

090/500/60 (SPS)