73 UNGA: Statement by the Cuban Delegation at the Meeting of the United Nations Special Committee on Decolonization. Topic:The Question of Western Sahara. New York, June 17, 2019.

Madam President,

It has been 56 years since the United Nations Special Committee on Decolonization declared Western Sahara as a Non-Self-Governing Territory. In the last 23 years numerous resolutions of the General Assembly, the Security Council and the African Union have ratified the right to self-determination of the Saharawi people in line with United Nations resolution 1514 (XV) on the granting of Independence to colonial countries and peoples.

Last year, the United Nations General Assembly requested its members to continue to examine the situation in Western Sahara. The aforementioned UN General Assembly resolution, among other elements, expressed its support for the ongoing process of negotiations with a view to achieving a just, lasting and mutually acceptable political solution which would provide for the self-determination of the people of Western Sahara; commended the Secretary-General and his Special Envoy for Western Sahara for their efforts in this regard and called upon the parties to cooperate with the International Committee of the Red Cross and to fulfil their relevant obligations in conformity with the international humanitarian law.

Our delegation, like others, welcomed the actions undertaken by the then new Personal Envoy of the Secretary-General for Western Sahara, Mr. Horst Kohler. We hope that the Secretary-General will soon appoint a new Personal Envoy for Western Sahara, following Mr. Kohler's resignation, and that the initial momentum will be restored.

We reiterate Cuba's support for those efforts to find a definitive solution to the question of Western Sahara, so that its people can exercise their right to self-determination. In this regard, we hope that the relevant resolutions of the UN General Assembly and the Security Council will be implemented.

We recognize the efforts made by both parties to advance the negotiation process and stress the importance of the parties' commitment to continue this process within the framework of the UN-sponsored talks, without preconditions and in good faith, in conformity with the purposes and principles of the UN Charter.

It becomes imperative that the international community commit itself to the implementation of all UN adopted resolutions and decisions on Western Sahara, including the right of the Saharawi people to receive the benefits from the exploitation of their natural resources.

Madam President:

The Sahrawi people call for the support of the international community. Since 1976, Cuba has been making its modest contribution to the development of the brotherly Saharawi people. A total of 2,046 students have graduated from Cuban institutions of the Ministry of Public Health and the Ministry of Higher Education. Likewise, a Medical Brigade and another one made up of teachers provide their services in the Tindouf camps.

Madam President:

The Saharawi people will always be able to count on the firm solidarity of our people in their struggle to exercise their legitimate rights. Cuba, as it has traditionally done, will continue to support a just and definitive solution to the question of Western Sahara, in accordance with the relevant resolutions of the General Assembly and the Security Council of the United Nations.

Thank you very much.