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Sweden reiterates support to Saharawis’ right to self-determination and to the respect of human rights




The Swedish Minister for Foreign Affairs, Carl Bildt reiterated, yesterday before Parliament, the support of his country to the Saharawi people’s right to self-determination, and respect of the right of the people of Western Sahara to their natural resources.

In his answer to a question by Parliamentarian Veronica Palm, who asked about “what actions I am willing to take to secure the Swedish position concerning Western Sahara’s right to self-determination, against the background of foreign and Swedish companies’ interests in Western Sahara’s natural resources”, Mr. Bildt said.

"I would again like to reiterate that Sweden supports the Western Saharan people’s right to self-determination. We welcome and support the initiatives for a political solution now began under UN auspices. We have informed the UN that we are ready to support this process if the UN and the parties so desire", the Head of the Swedish diplomacy indicated.

“The situation in international law concerning the extraction of natural resources from Western Saharan waters have been interpreted by the UN legal service, in its statement of February 12, 2002 (S/2002/161)”, he recalled.

The UN legal service concluded that the exploitation of the natural resources in Western Sahara “can only be with the consent of the Western Saharan people, and with the economic advantages benefiting the people. Sweden draws the same conclusions about international law as did the UN”, he stressed.

“It is naturally in the long-term interest of Swedish companies to act in line with social responsibility and good ethics. The initiative "Global responsibility" is run by the foreign ministry, and aims to further the work of Swedish companies for human rights, basic conditions of labour, the struggle against corruption and for a better environment, based on the principles in the UN’s Global Compact and the OECD guidelines”, the Swedish Minister stated in his answer.

In his answer to another question formulated by MP, Agneta Berliner, who asked what initiatives, bilateral or via the EU, the Swedish Foreign Ministry will take "together with France, Spain, Morocco or other countries, to manifest Sweden’s position on the right to self-determination for the Western Saharan people, and the importance of respecting human rights in Western Sahara”, he recalled.

"Sweden supports the UN efforts for solving the long-standing conflict over Western Sahara, and the work of the UN secretary general’s personal envoy for a political solution between the parties. We continue to underline the right to self-determination of the Western Saharan people, as well as the respect for human rights”, Mr. Bildt said.