5 November 2012

Western Sahara: My Discussions With Saharawi Officials 'Valuable Contribution' in Search for Settlement to Western Sahara Conflict, Says Ross

Photo: UN Photo/Martine Perret
A member of the UN Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO)'s Military Liaison Office chats with a group of local Western Saharans (file photo).


Chahid Al Hafed — The Personal Envoy of the UN Secretary General, Ambassador Christopher Ross, said that his talks with the Saharawi officials and civil society were "valuable contribution" in the search for a political settlement to enable the people of Western Sahara of self-determination, in a statement following a meeting with the Saharawi President on Sunday evening.

Here is complete text of the statement (translation):

"At the outset, I would like to extend my thanks for the POLISARIO Front and MINURSO office for arranging my programme in the Saharawi camps and UN bodies, in this part of Algeria.

Since January 2009, I have been working to facilitate the direct negotiations between the POLISARIO Front and Kingdom of Morocco with the help of the two neighbouring countries, Algeria and Mauritania, and with the support of the entire international community to reach a just, durable and mutually agreed upon political solution by the parties, ensuring self-determination for the people of Western Sahara.

Despite several rounds of negotiations and talks between the parties, no progress has been achieved in this direction. So, I came to the region to contribute to the assessment of the last five years of direct negotiations, and get ideas on the best ways to achieve genuine and real progress on peace process, as to examine impact of the latest developments in North Africa and Sahel on Western Sahara issue.

My discussions with the Secretary General of the POLISARIO Front Mr. Mohamed Abdelaziz and other officials in the Front, as well as exchange of views with a wide range of Saharawi components, in social fields and others, have made a valuable contribution in the search for a more efficient way to move forward. I expect similar discussions in other stages of this tour.

On my return to New York, I will convey my findings to the Secretary General of the United Nations; I will also submit report to the Security Council by the end of November. Personally, I would like to contribute to a solution ending the conflict and suffering of families, separated for 37 years, a solution make it possible to complete the building of the Arab Maghreb Union and consolidate security and stability in North Africa and Sahel.

The situation in Western Sahara has continued enough, good people wherever they are must rally, sooner, for a honorable solution for all.

Peace be upon you."

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