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Western Sahara

Volume 14: debated on Thursday 3 December 1981

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asked the Lord Privy Seal what measures are being taken within the European Economic Community to promote an end to the Moroccan occupation of Western Sahara and to encourage negotiations for a ceasefire.

The Ten welcomed and support the Organization of African Unity summit decision on the Western Sahara. We hope it will lead to a peaceful settlement and enable the people of the Western Sahara to exercise their right to self-determination through a referendum. In this connexion, the United Kingdom welcomes King Hassan's reported announcement in Fez that the referendum will be held in the first half of 1982.

asked the Lord Privy Seal whether, in view of the British presidency of the Council of Ministers, he will consider using the offices of the European Economic Community together with the Organisation of African Unity as arenas through which negotiations for a ceasefire between Morocco and the Polisario could be conducted.

No. The Western Sahara dispute is an African issue, to be resolved by the countries of the region. Her Majesty's Government's policy, which we understand is consistent with that of our European partners, is one of neutrality together with firm support for a peaceful settlement along the lines set out by the Organization of African Unity.

asked the Lord Privy Seal what steps Her Majesty's Government are taking to promote the implementation of the United Nations resolutions on Western Sahara, which have reaffirmed the inalienable right of the people of Western Sahara to self-determination and independence.

The United Kingdom, together with the other members of the Ten, joined a consensus at the United Nations on 9 November in adopting a Kenyan draft decision on the Western Sahara which was based on the Organization of African Unity summit decision. At the same time the Ten made clear their support for the Organization of African Unity initiative and urged all the parties concerned to respect the Organization of African Unity summit decision.