Angola urges UN to push towards negotiations in Western Sahara to enable Saharawi people self-determination and independence

New York (United Nations) 16 June 2021 (SPS)- The Permanent Representative of Angola to the UN, Ambassador Maria de Jesus Ferreira, called on the UN to push towards direct negotiations between Polisario Front and the kingdom of Morocco to enable the people of Western Sahara to freely exercise their inalienable right to self-determination and independence.

In her statement last Monday before the UN General Assembly’s Committee on Decolonisation Angola’s Permanent Representative urged “the Special Committee on Decolonization to actively support the UN Secretary General's efforts to relaunch the peace process in Western Sahara through direct and substantive negotiations between the POLISARIO Front and the Kingdom of Morocco, and we emphasize that the ultimate goal of such negotiations is to allow the Saharawi people to freely and democratically exercise their inalienable right to self-determination and independence.”

She reaffirmed that “the right to independence, sovereignty and unity of States represent the legitimate rights of all peoples,” regretting however that “these rights are often compromised, as not all territories benefit from the commitments of the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples, as mentioned in UN General Assembly Resolution 1514 of December 14, 1960.”

Following is the full text of the statement:

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Statement by H.E. Ambassador Maria de Jesus Ferreira Permanent Representative of the Republic of Angola to the United Nations

AT THE C-24 SUBSTANTIVE SESSION 14 June 2021 

Madame Chair,

First of all, I would like to thank you for convening this meeting on such an important matter. 

When the United Nations was established in 1945, 750 million people - almost a third of the world's population then - lived in Territories that were non-self-governing, dependent on colonial powers. Since then, more than 80 former colonies have gained their independence. Among them, all 11 Guarded Territories achieved self-determination through independence or free association with an independent State. 

Today, there are 17 Non-Self-Governing Territories remaining and around 2 million people live in such Territories. 

Angola considers that independence, sovereignty, State unity, inviolability of national boundaries, democracy and the rule of law, as well as the observance of international law are principles which violation should concern all Nations.

Madame Chair, 

Western Sahara has been on the United Nations list of Non-Autonomous Territories for approximately 58 years, since December 1963. Since then, several UN General Assembly resolutions have demanded that the people of Western Sahara be able to exercise their inalienable right to self-determination, in accordance with the relevant General Assembly Resolutions. For three decades, the Sahrawi people have fully trusted the United Nations and constructively engaged in the UN peace process, exercising patience, moderation and flexibility. 

In this sense, Angola joins its voice to those who promote the initiatives of the United Nations Security Council, the African Union and the Southern African Development Community that aim to return the right to self-determination to the Sahrawi people, peacefully and in compliance with international law and the respect for the sanctity of the borders inherited from the colonial period, as set out in the Constitutive Act of the African Union. 

We would like to reiterate that we encourage the implementation of the United Nations and Organization of African Union (OAU) Resolution Plan, accepted by both parties and approved by the Security Council in 1990 and 1991, to implement the mandate of the United Nations Mission for the referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO).

Once again, we believe that the appointment of a new personal envoy for Western Sahara is imperative and represents an issue that deserves urgent attention and consideration in order to speed up the process of holding a referendum for the people of the region to support a Just Solution, lasting and mutually agreed upon for the region in compliance with relevant UN Security Council resolutions in this regard. 

Madame Chair

To conclude, we reaffirm that the right to independence, sovereignty and unity of States represent the legitimate rights of all peoples. However, these rights are often compromised, as not all territories benefit from the commitments of the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples, as mentioned in UN General Assembly Resolution 1514 of December 14, 1960. 

And we urge the Special Committee on Decolonization to actively support the UN Secretary General's efforts to relaunch the peace process in Western Sahara through direct and substantive negotiations between the POLISARIO Front and the Kingdom of Morocco, and we emphasize that the ultimate goal of such negotiations is to allow the Saharawi people to freely and democratically exercise their inalienable right to self-determination and independence." (SPS)

090/500/60 (SPS)