3 December 2012

Morocco: There Is No Solution to Western Sahara Conflict Out of Referendum, Confirms Khatri Addouh

Algiers — "There is no solution to the issue of Western Sahara out of the organization of a referendum on self-determination of the Sahrawi people," confirmed Saturday in Algiers Mr. Khatri Addouh, Speaker for the Saharawi National Council and Head of the Saharawi negotiating delegation with Morocco.

"It is out of question to design a solution (the Saharawi conflict) apart from those relating to the holding of a free, fair and transparent referendum on self-determination for the Saharawi people," said Mr. Khatri, during a meeting with the press held at the Saharawi media centre in Algiers.

He said in this context that "the Moroccan autonomy project could not achieve success," because, he said, "it is in total contradiction with UN decisions and resolutions on Western Sahara."

"Moroccan autonomy proposal has convinced, ultimately, no country in the world," he said.

Recalling that Western Sahara has been under Moroccan occupation for 37 years, he urged the international community "to live up to his 1991 promise, which is to conduct a referendum in exchange for the cessation of hostilities."

"The Saharawi people awaited the referendum ever since, but they got impatient. Also, the absence of international community has caused a feeling of frustration among the Saharawis," he said.

He stressed, in this context, that the Saharawi people "call now on the international community to act so that the settlement process of the conflict with Morocco is completed on the basis of the respect for right of the Saharawi people to self-determination."

Responding to a question about the outcome of the negotiations between POLISARIO Front and Morocco, Mr. Addouh said that the two sides have held four informal rounds of negotiations and nine other preliminary "without reaching any solution."

He, therefore, said that all Moroccan attempts to undermine the efforts of the UN Secretary General's Personal Envoy Western Sahara, Christopher Ross, for a solution based on the right to self-determination of the Saharawi people "were doomed to failure."

He noted that Christopher Ross, who conducted from 27 October to 15 November 2012 a tour to countries of the region (Morocco, Western Sahara, Algeria and Mauritania) and to Europe, presented on 29 November 2012 his report to the Security Council, in which he stressed that the situation in the occupied territories of Western Sahara "remains very worrisome and should remain on the radar of international community."

Mr. Addouh, on other hand, expressed willingness of the Polisario Front to cooperate with Mr. Ross, who intends to hold wide consultations, internationally and regionally, to explain his new roadmap to find a solution to Western Sahara, instead of convening immediately another round of talks between the Polisario Front and Morocco.

Christopher Ross said last Thursday, after the presentation of his report to the Security Council, that he would start consultations "key international stakeholders" in the Saharawi question, before engaging, as he said, in "shuttle diplomacy" through several visits to countries of the region including the Western Sahara.

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