Member of the European
President of the intergroup "Peace for the Saharawi People
As president of the intergroup "Peace for the Saharawi People" in the European Parliament, I would like to express our urgent concern in front of the attempt, as expressed in the recommendations of the UN Secretary General and his personal representative Mr James Baker, to abandon the 1991 UN/OAU Peace Plan and the implementation of the referendum of self-determination for the Saharawi people, in order to impose the newly formulated "framework accord" which plans a status of autonomy under Moroccan sovereignty for the territory of Western Sahara.
We are extremely concerned because such an abrupt change of priorities by the United Nations reveals a blatant and shameful abandonment of the international legality that it is the mission of this institution to uphold and defend, rather than evade.
Amongst these rights is the right to self-determination- a right which was recognised for the Saharawi people ever since the early sixties by UN Resolution 1514, confirmed subsequently by all resolutions of international institutions (UN, OAU ), and confirmed also by the Advisory Opinion of the International Court in the Hague in 1975. As for the 1991 UN/OAU Peace Plan, adopted by both parties in conflict that is Morocco and the Polisario Front, and confirmed by the 1997 Houston Accords, it has one purpose only: the implementation of the referendum of self-determination for the Saharawi people, and no other mandate than this one.
Over the past ten years, and despite many obstacles, the MINURSO has successfully managed to complete the corner-stone work of its mission, that is, the identification of voters, the list of which was made official in January 2000. It is true that the numerous appeals subsequently lodged by the Moroccan authorities threatened to delay yet again the implementation of the referendum- yet in his report of 20 February 2001, the Secretary General mentioned the possibility to "begin hearing the pending appeals from the identification process on an expedited basis". Regrettably, it is also since February 2001 that the UN has been gradually shifting its priority from implementing the 1991 UN/OAU Peace Plan to imposing a "3rd way", that is, a plan of autonomy designed by Morocco and for its sole interests, outside the framework of international legality and in total contradiction with the most fundamental principles of the UN Charter.
The recommendations of the UN Secretary General June 2001 report do not give any equitable treatment to the proposals put forth by the Polisario Front within the framework of the UN/OAU 1991 Peace Plan. The report does not mention anymore the appeals nor the possibility to expedite them in order to start the count-down to the implementation of the referendum of self-determination. Rather, it gives the green light to the imposition of this "3rd way", which, under the name of "framework accords", plans the forced integration of Western Sahara into Morocco and is designed to turn the Saharawi people into an ethnic minority within their own territory.
Regrettably, the recommendations of the UN Secretary General June 2001 report ignore the refusal by one of the parties, the Polisario Front, of this gross deviation from international legality. The report also ignores the renewed tensions and the very real dangers of a resumption of the armed conflict between Morocco and the Polisario Front, with all the risk of destabilisation that this would entail now for the Maghreb region, should this "framework accord", which has the support of only one of the two parties, namely Morocco, be enforced.
We therefore call on the members of the United Nations Security Council to exert the highest sense of responsibility possible, uphold and defend international legality, the UN fundamental principles, and the previous resolutions on Western Sahara by advocating a firm return to the implementation of the 1991 UN/OAU Peace Plan adopted by both parties in conflict, that is Morocco and the Polisario Front.