South African President Cyril Ramaphosa and his Kenyan counterpart Uhuru Kenyatta expressed concern about MINURSO’s delay in holding a referendum on the self-determination of the people of Western Sahara, which had been awaited since 1991.
In a joint statement issued Tuesday on the occasion of the state visit of the Kenyan president to South Africa, the two leaders expressed their concern about the “delay in holding the referendum necessary for the realization of the right to self-determination of the people of Western Sahara” as well as the “lack of protection of human rights of the Sahrawi people.
Having taken note of the recent UN Security Council resolution to extend the mandate of the UN mission for the referendum on self-determination of the people of Western Sahara (MINURSO) until 31 October 2022, the two Heads of State stressed “the importance for the Security Council to support the work of the UN mission, which is mainly responsible for organising the long-awaited referendum, and to support the resumption of negotiations by the Personal Envoy of the UN Secretary General”.
On 29 October, the Security Council decided to extend the mandate of MINURSO for a period of one year. According to observers, the mission, which has been present for 30 years in the occupied Saharawi territories, has failed to achieve its two main objectives, namely to ensure respect for the ceasefire between the Moroccan occupying forces and the Saharawi army and to organize a referendum on self-determination.