Western Sahara: Politics and Government

Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs written question – answered at on 14 November 2007.

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Photo of Jeremy Corbyn Jeremy Corbyn Labour, Islington North

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs

(1) how much the UK Government have given to the United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara;

(2) if he will make representations to Morocco on its obligations as an occupying power to provide for the protection and welfare of the West Saharan population;

(3) what representations he has made to the UN on ensuring a referendum on the Western Sahara is carried out.

Photo of Kim Howells Kim Howells Minister of State, Foreign & Commonwealth Office

The UN Security Council unanimously adopted Resolution 1783 on 31 October, which renewed the mandate of the UN Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO) until 30 April 2008. Since 1991, the Government have made assessed contributions of £21.8 million for the maintenance of MINURSO.

The UK fully supports the efforts of the UN Secretary-General and his Personal Envoy, Peter van Walsum. UK officials play an active role at the UN in New York in discussions on Western Sahara. This includes the negotiation and adoption of UN Security Council Resolution 1783. The Resolution also

“calls upon the parties to continue negotiations under the auspices of the Secretary-General without preconditions and in good faith, taking into account the efforts made since 2006 and developments of the last months, with a view to achieving a just, lasting and mutually acceptable political solution, which will provide for the self-determination of the people of Western Sahara”.

The UK raises the issue of Western Sahara on a regular basis with the parties, including wider issues of welfare and security. I raised the issue of Western Sahara and the ongoing negotiations process when I spoke to the Moroccan Foreign Minister, Taib Fassi Firhi on 25 October. The UK has encouraged the parties to continue negotiations under UN auspices, as set out in UN Security Council Resolutions 1754 and 1783.

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