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U.S. Department of State
96/01/31 USUN Press Release #012-(96)
U.S. Mission to the United Nations 
 
 
 
 
FOR RELEASE ON DELIVERY                 USUN PRESS RELEASE #012-(96) 
CHECK TEXT AGAINST DELIVERY                         JANUARY 31, 1996 
 
 
Statement by Ambassador Madeleine K. Albright, United State Permanent 
Representative to the United Nations, on the Situation in the Western 
Sahara, January 31, 1996 
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THE UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT CONTINUES TO SUPPORT THE UNITED NATIONS 
SETTLEMENT PLAN FOR THE WESTERN SAHARA, INCLUDING ITS CENTERPIECE: A 
FREE, FAIR, AND IMPARTIAL REFERENDUM REGARDING THE FUTURE STATUS OF THE 
TERRITORY.  IN OUR VIEW, THE SETTLEMENT PLAN REMAINS THE BEST COURSE OF 
ACTION TO RESOLVE THIS LONGSTANDING DISPUTE BETWEEN THE GOVERNMENT OF 
MOROCCO AND THE POLISARIO AND TO ENSURE THE STABILITY OF THIS IMPORTANT 
REGION.   
 
HOWEVER, WE ARE EXTREMELY DISAPPOINTED AND CONCERNED THAT DESPITE 
INTENSIVE EFFORTS BY THE SECRETARY-GENERAL AND THE MEMBERS OF THE 
SECURITY COUNCIL, THERE HAS BEEN LITTLE PROGRESS IN REACHING THE GOAL OF 
A REFERENDUM SINCE WE ADOPTED THE LAST MANDATE EXTENSION IN SEPTEMBER 
1995.  TO FULFILL THEIR STATED COMMITMENT TO THE SETTLEMENT PLAN, THE 
PARTIES MUST SHOW THE WILL AND DETERMINATION TO OVERCOME PROBLEMS WITH 
THE IDENTIFICATION PROCESS AS WELL AS TO DEAL WITH THE OTHER ELEMENTS OF 
THE SETTLEMENT PLAN.  IN REGARD TO THE IDENTIFICATION PROCESS, WE 
ENDORSE THE RESULTS OF UNDER SECRETARY GHAREKHAN'S RECENT MISSION TO THE 
REGION, CONTAINED IN THE SECRETARY-GENERAL'S REPORT TO THE COUNCIL OF 
JANUARY 19, 1996.   
 
WE SHARE THE CONCERN EXPRESSED BY THE SECRETARY-GENERAL ABOUT THE 
COMPLETION OF THE IDENTIFICATION PROCESS AND ABOUT THE NEED FOR THE 
PARTIES TO MAKE DECISIONS IN THE NEXT FEW MONTHS REGARDING THE CONTESTED 
APPLICANTS IN ORDER TO AVOID A STALEMATE.  WE ENDORSE THE SECRETARY-
GENERAL'S POSITION THAT THE PARTIES SHOULD BE ENCOURAGED TO REACH COMMON 
GROUND ON THE IDENTIFICATION PROCESS;  WE WILL CONTINUE TO WORK IN THAT 
SPIRIT.  OVER THE COMING MONTHS, THE PARTIES SHOULD UNDERTAKE 
CONFIDENCE-BUILDING MEASURES WHICH COULD HELP DESTROY THE WALLS OF 
SUSPICION THAT STAND BETWEEN THEM.   
 
BY ADOPTING THIS RESOLUTION, THE SECURITY COUNCIL HAS ONCE AGAIN 
EXPRESSED ITS STRONG COMMITMENT TO ASSISTING THE PARTIES IN RESOLVING 
THEIR DISPUTE.  THAT COMMITMENT INVOLVES THE ALLOCATION OF SCARCE 
RESOURCES AT A TIME WHEN PEACEKEEPING OPERATIONS ARE COMING UNDER STRONG 
SCRUTINY FROM A NUMBER OF QUARTERS.  THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY SIMPLY 
CANNOT AFFORD TO MAINTAIN OPERATIONS WHERE THE DISPUTANTS' COMMITMENT TO 
OVERCOMING OBSTACLES IS IN QUESTION, WHERE THERE IS NO DISCERNIBLE 
PROGRESS TOWARD RESOLUTION AND WHERE NO END IS IN SIGHT.  THE PARTIES 
MUST SEIZE THE OPPORTUNITY OFFERED BY THIS RENEWAL TO ACHIEVE PROGRESS 
TOWARD THE REFERENDUM.   
 
THE UNITED STATES BELIEVES THIS DISPUTE MUST BE RESOLVED.  IT IS FOR 
THAT REASON WE SUPPORT THE COUNCIL'S DETERMINATION TO EXTEND THIS 
MANDATE UNTIL MAY 31, 1996.  AT THE SAME TIME, WE STRONGLY ENDORSE THE 
REQUIREMENT IN THIS RESOLUTION FOR THE SECRETARY-GENERAL TO REPORT TO 
THE COUNCIL IMMEDIATELY IF SIGNIFICANT PROGRESS IS NOT MADE OVER THE 
COMING WEEKS AND MONTHS.  IN THOSE CIRCUMSTANCES, WE WILL IMMEDIATELY 
CONSIDER OTHER OPTIONS REGARDING MINURSO'S FUTURE.  
 
WE HOPE THE PARTIES WILL MANIFEST THE POLITICAL WILL REQUIRED FOR 
MINURSO TO REACH A SUCCESSFUL CONCLUSION.  THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY 
HAS GONE MORE THAN THE PROVERBIAL EXTRA MILE TO HELP THE PARTIES REACH A 
SOLUTION, BUT ITS EFFORTS CANNOT CONTINUE INDEFINITELY IN THE FACE OF 
PERSISTENT PROCRASTINATION AND FAILURE.  THE PARTIES MUST UNDERSTAND 
THAT TIME IS RUNNING OUT FOR MINURSO.  THEY MUST ALSO UNDERSTAND THAT 
THEIR FAILURE BY MAY 31, 1996, TO DEVELOP AN AGREED AND TIMELY PLAN FOR 
SETTLEMENT OF THEIR DISPUTE WILL CONDITION CONSIDERATION OF FURTHER 
MANDATE RENEWALS.  
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