Tuesday, 14 July 2020

Questions (467)

Patrick Costello


467. Deputy Patrick Costello asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if Ireland will use its membership of the United Nations Security Council to push for resolution in respect of Western Sahara; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15185/20]

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Written answers (Question to Foreign)

Ireland’s approach on the Security Council will be informed by our record as a country that has a consistent, principled and independent foreign policy. Ireland is now working on preparations for taking up our Security Council seat in January, including by reviewing all items on the Council’s agenda, which includes the situation in Western Sahara.

Our position on the situation in Western Sahara remains one of support to the UN-led process and the Secretary-General’s efforts to reach a definitive political settlement on this issue. We support the right to self-determination of the people of Western Sahara, but we do not have a view on the outcome of that decision – be it independence, integration, autonomy, or some other solution – so long as it is decided in a genuine exercise of self-determination.

This will remain our position when we take up our seat on the Security Council, and we will be ready to support all efforts to advance the UN-led process and reach a lasting settlement. We would like to see the appointment, as soon as possible, of a new UN Special Envoy, to take forward that process and build on the momentum which had been developing under the previous Special Envoy, Horst Köhler, before his departure last year.

Ireland continues to support the important work of the United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO), where two members of Defence Forces personnel are currently deployed. On 30 October 2019, the Security Council adopted Resolution 2494, which extended the mandate of the Mission by 12 months. In extending the mandate of the Mission, the Security Council reaffirmed its commitment to assist the parties to achieve a just, lasting, and mutually acceptable political solution, based on compromise.