Thursday, 6 December 2018

Ceisteanna (68)

Niall Collins


68. Deputy Niall Collins asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the status of the disputed territory of Western Sahara; the EU position on this territory; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [51317/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Foreign)

Ireland and the EU recognise the United Nation's classification of Western Sahara as a non-self-governing territory. We fully support the ongoing UN efforts to assist the parties in reaching a lasting political resolution to the dispute in Western Sahara.

Ireland supports the right to self-determination of the people of Western Sahara, but does 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. While Ireland does not recognise the Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic, the state declared by the Polisario Front, we do recognise the Polisario Front as a party to the dispute, and my officials meet regularly with its representatives to seek their views on the current situation.

On 31 October 2018, the UN Security Council passed Resolution 2440 on Western Sahara, extending the UN Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO) for a six-month period. In extending the mandate, the Security Council also called upon all the concerned parties to demonstrate political will to advance the negotiations towards an enduring political solution.

The Personal Envoy of the UN Secretary-General for Western Sahara, Horst Köhler, has conducted extensive stakeholder consultations in recent months. These consultations have resulted in the roundtable meeting on Western Sahara which is being held in Geneva this week, with representatives from Morocco, the Polisario Front, Algeria and Mauritania. I welcome this meeting as a very positive step by all the parties participating, and I hope that it will lead to the renewal of the negotiations process. I call on all parties to engage in good faith with the UN Envoy's mediation process, which Ireland fully supports. This is the only path towards a sustainable resolution of the conflict which is mutually acceptable, and provides for the self-determination of the people of Western Sahara.