I have the honor of taking the floor on behalf of the European Union to explain the Union’s position concerning the resolution on the question of Western Sahara.
The Central and Eastern European countries associated with the European Union, Bulgaria, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Czech Republic, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia, the associated countries Cyprus, Malta and Turkey and the EFTA country belonging to the European Economic Area, Norway, align themselves with this explanation of position.
The European Union is pleased that the resolution on Western Sahara has once again been presented this year as a proposal of the Chairman of the Fourth Committee, and that it has been adopted by consensus.
The European Union continues to pay close attention to the question of Western Sahara. It welcomed the dispositions of resolution 1359, adopted by the Security Council on 29 June 2001.
It fully supports the Secretary-General and his Personal Envoy, Mr. James Baker, in their tireless efforts to seek a fair, sustainable and negotiated resolution of the conflict.
In its resolution 1359 of 29 June 2001, the Security Council clearly indicated the path to be followed: it has invited all the parties to meet under the auspices of the Personal Envoy of the Secretary-General to discuss the draft Framework Agreement and to negotiate any changes they would like to see in this proposal, as well as to discuss any other proposal for a political solution which may be put forward by the parties in order to arrive at a mutually acceptable solution.
Resolution 1359 also foresees that, while these discussions are taking place, the official proposals submitted by the Frente POLISARIO to overcome the obstacles preventing implementation of the Settlement plan are considered.
The European Union encourages the parties to participate constructively in the talks in progress under the auspices of the Secretary-General’s Personal Envoy.
There is no need to await the end of those talks before settling certain pressing humanitarian issues, such as the exchange of family visits. Under international law, the parties are obliged to release without delay all prisoners of war still in detention.
The European Union would like to take this opportunity to pay tribute once again to the United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara. MINURSO continues to play a crucial role in the Western Saharan peace process.