The Position of the Italian Government on a Motion in Favour of the Sahrawi People


In the framework of a discussion about some motions that promoted initiatives in favour of the Sahrawi people, the Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr. Pistelli, intervened to clarify the Italian position. The Undersecretary renewed the country’s support to the United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (UN MINURSO) and called for a continued bilateral and reinforced multilateral – and EU led – cooperation to solve the conflict.

He stated:

The same feelings of frustration concern all conflicts that seem not to evolve, with a particular emphasis on the Sahrawi case since […] the Sahrawi people has long decided to opt for a non-violent affirmation of their claims. The peaceful character of this movement is in sharp contrast with the delay of the international community – especially the United Nations – in taking any actions to bring the negotiation process to an end.

He then added:

[…] we will extend the mandate of MINURSO […]; the element of novelty is represented by the request by the Special Representative of the Secretary General to add to MINURSO’s mandate a specific duty concerning the monitoring of human rights in the region.

You know that this request, which has been backed by many important NGOs, has been explicitly opposed in the debate at the Security Council not only by France, but also by the Moroccan Government […]. Russia and China have also been reluctant in this respect.

I emphasise that because Italy […] runs for a seat in the Security Council as for the years 2017-2018.

Concerning the possibility to reach a consensus on these matters at the level of the EU, he added:

The rationale behind that is that the European Union, both in the dialogue on human rights carried out with numerous countries (this is known as structured dialogue on human rights) and when it decides to use conditionality in common development projects, weighs a lot more when it accounts for 28 rather than merely for itself.

He continued:

Finally, I would like to recall […] that Italy on the contrary has always been one of the most active countries when it comes to solidarity and humanitarian aid to camps.

[…] we will continue our bilateral engagement, especially with the Government of Morocco. Following from the heavy sanctions adopted recently, some elements of great concern have been referred to in the proposed motions. We will continue […] to seek for a solution within the EU framework. This solution should purport to promote a structured dialogue with Morocco, Algeria and the Saharawi people aimed at the preservation of the dignity of this people.

Furthermore, since Italy is a country that has always believed in multilateralism and that struggles as few Western countries do, in spite of the economic crisis, to finance and support the initiatives of the United Nations, we renew our support to the Representative of the Secretary General, in order to – this is our hope – insert this element of further attention to the monitoring of human rights into the renewed mandate of MINURSO.

The Italian version of the statement can be found at:

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