The United Kingdom “fully” supports the self-determination of the Saharawi people, and the UN’s efforts to achieve a lasting political solution in Western Sahara, declared the British Minister of State for the Middle East and North Africa at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, James Cleverly.
“The United Kingdom fully supports the efforts of the UN to achieve a lasting and mutually acceptable political solution to the conflict, which provides for the self-determination of the people of Western Sahara,” the British official said in a written reply to a question from Alex Sobel, a Labour member of the British Parliament who questioned him on the legal status of Western Sahara and the human rights situation in the occupied territory.
“We are closely monitoring the situation in Western Sahara and call on the parties to return to the ceasefire agreement and the UN-led political process,” he added.
James Cleverly affirmed that the United Kingdom’s position, as reiterated by the head of British diplomacy on 11 December, remained “unchanged”.
“We continue to regard the status of Western Sahara as undetermined and support the UN-led efforts to achieve a lasting and mutually acceptable political solution that will provide for the self-determination of the people of Western Sahara,” he stressed.
“We have regular discussions with the parties (to the conflict) and remain in close contact with the United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (Minurso),” James Cleverly added.
He indicated British officials “periodically visit Western Sahara”, recalling that a visit, originally scheduled for 2020, had been postponed due to the new coronavirus pandemic.
Last December, a group of British MPs called in a written motion for the House of Commons to recognise the Sahrawi people’s right to self-determination, deploring the recognition by outgoing US President Donald Trump of Morocco’s alleged sovereignty over Western Sahara.
They urged their government to “play a more active role in the UN Security Council with a view to achieving a referendum on self-determination in Western Sahara”.
The procedure for this motion was part of a mechanism to draw the attention of the British House, Government and public to matters considered important by British elected representatives.