Near verbatim transcript of the press stakeout of the Initial Roundtable Meeting on Western Sahara
Ladies, Gentlemen, thank you all for coming,
I am very pleased to be here, I will read a short statement and then I am happy to provide you with some of my impressions from our meetings held here in Geneva. I will not be taking any questions today.
The delegations have agreed on the following declaration [the Personal Envoy reads the communiqué in English – please find the full text in English, French and Arabic here below].
As you know, it has been six years since the delegations met last time. I would therefore like to commend all delegations for the renewed commitment they all have shown by coming here and participating constructively. This meeting serves as a first - but an important - step towards a renewed political process on the future of Western Sahara. The goal of this process, according to UNSC Resolution 2440, is to find “a just, lasting and mutually acceptable solution which will provide for the self-determination of the people of Western Sahara”.
We have just finished two days of intensive discussions, I would like to applaud the delegations for having engaged openly and in a spirit of mutual respect. From our discussions it is clear to me that nobody wins from maintaining the status quo, and it is my firm belief that it lies in the interest of all to resolve this conflict in order to create an environment in the region that is conducive to strong growth, job creation and better security.
I am therefore very pleased to announce that the delegations have committed to engaging further.
My hope is that this process will be guided first and foremost by a concern for the men and women, children and youth of the people of Western Sahara.
My conviction remains that a peaceful solution to this conflict is possible. I look forward to inviting the delegations to a second roundtable meeting in the first quarter of 2019.
Let me finish by expressing my gratitude to the UN staff here at the Palais, my team, and to the Swiss Government who have been so kind as to host and support us throughout these days.