Response of the Frente POLISARIO to James Baker III


On 16 January 2003, the Frente POLISARIO had the pleasure to receive Mr. James Baker III, Personal Envoy of the Secretary-General of the United Nations, who presented to it a settlement proposal entitled "Peace Plan for self-determination for the people of Western Sahara", (French/PDF) in which he requested a reply from each of the two parties to the conflict over Western Sahara. The present document contains the reaction of the Frente POLISARIO to this proposal.

The Frente POLISARIO wishes first of all to thank the Personal Envoy of the Secretary-General of the United Nations for the patience and perseverance he has shown in investing his personal credit and talent in the efforts to arrive at a just and final settlement of the long and grievous conflict over Western Sahara by the only legal and just path with regard to decolonization, namely the Saharan people's exercise of its exclusive right to self-determination through a free and properly conducted referendum organized and monitored by the United Nations.

Similarly, the Frente POLISARIO wishes to give due credit to Mr. James Baker III, recalling that his input and efforts made it possible, within the framework of negotiations conducted with the two parties to the conflict at Lisbon, London and Houston, in 1997, to resolve all pending issues for the implementation of the United Nations Plan. The Houston agreements incorporated all these final measures that were worked out and unreservedly accepted by the Kingdom of Morocco and the Frente POLISARIO. The detailed Implementation Plan, finalized and submitted by the Secretary-General of the United Nations to the Security Council on 13 November 1997, envisaging the holding of the referendum on 7 December 1998, constitutes a further solemn confirmation of this, sealed with the authority of the Security Council.

This gratitude expressed to the Personal Envoy and this recapitulation indicate clearly the obstacles raised on the path towards a settlement of the conflict over Western Sahara. They also show the responsibility and duplicity of the Kingdom of Morocco. All that brings the fore the continuing volte-face of the occupying Power in Western Sahara, conduct which the Organization of African Unity (OAU), and then the United Nations, have had to suffer constantly, to the detriment of international law and to the detriment of their own credit.

OAU and the United Nations can also testify that Frente POLISARIO, which speaks for martyrs, exiles and Saharans faced with unspeakable suffering inside their occupied country and for a just cause, has unceasingly over the decades made successive compromises with the aim of ensuring the exercise of a fundamental right, the Saharan people's right to self-determination. These compromises began with the acceptance of, and faithful respect for, the ceasefire that came into force on 6 September 1991, in spite of the fact that this halt to the fighting was an integral element of the Settlement Plan that Morocco is constantly impeding and even challenging. What became of it? Morocco itself gives the reply: Its invasion of Western Sahara in 1975, with a savagery and barbarity unprecedented against an unarmed civilian population, its obstinacy and illegality, its expansionism and its will to gain recognition for the fait accompli of the occupation of Western Sahara.

That is not a question of polemics but of stands that have been taken by the Kingdom of Morocco and for which it must be held accountable. It is Morocco that alleges that "the international community has finally recognized its rights to the Sahara". It is Morocco that maintains that "the referendum is null and void". It is Morocco that, in short, states that it will not accept any solution to this decolonization conflict "that does not respect its territorial integrity and national sovereignty".

By recalling all this, the Frente POLISARIO is not indulging in statements that might be perceived as inappropriate in response to a proposal submitted to it with peace as the goal. It simply seeks to place that proposal in its essential context: that of an illegal occupation inasmuch as Morocco, which has never given its word on the subject except to retract it subsequently, producing only obstacles and complications.

The Frente POLISARIO sees clearly that, since November 1999, the United Nations has been trying to counter Moroccan duplicity with the search for a "political solution", the ultimate step of which is still the referendum on self-determination, while confirming the validity of the settlement plan and acknowledging the difficulties still encompassing its implementation.

The Saharan people and the Frente POLISARIO, which speaks on its behalf, believe that they are entitled to expect of the United Nations that the necessary and adequate conditions and guarantees be provided to ensure that the triumph of the right of peoples to self-determination is safeguarded, in Western Sahara, against new Moroccan volte-face and that the return of the Saharan people to its Territory to exercise its right to self-determination is not a gathering to endorse, through its own participation, the integration of its country in the occupying Power, or, even less, a return of its repression, massacre and suffocation.

Taking all these factors into consideration, the Frente POLISARIO has considered carefully the proposal of Mr. James Baker III based on Security Council resolution 1429 (2002) of 30 July 2002.

In the course of this careful consideration, Frente POLISARIO has noted that the Personal Envoy has endeavoured to take account of some of the "concerns expressed by the parties". However, it has also sought to analyse the proposal in the light of the volte-face and obstacles that the Kingdom of Morocco has already placed in the way of previous plans and agreements after duly accepting them.

Accordingly, Frente POLISARIO wishes to make the following remarks and comments on Mr. James Baker III's proposal entitled "Peace Plan for self-determination for the people of Western Sahara".

1.It is provided (para. 15) that: "The election for the Legislative Assembly and Chief Executive of WSA [Western Sahara Authority] shall be held within one year of the effective date of this Plan". However, the concept of this one-year period is encompassed with solemn and weighty silences, except for some brief indications regarding the issues of prisoners, the troops of the two parties and refugees (paras. 19, 20 and 21).
Need it be recalled that this period is supposed to see the return of the Saharan refugees to the Territory? Need it be recalled also that the United Nations is supposed to exercise its exclusive authority in the election of WSA? Lastly, need it be recalled that the Settlement Plan, supplemented by the Houston agreements and translated into detailed measures by the Secretary-General on 13 November 1997, defines clearly and precisely the body of provisions that should govern the transition period.
Accordingly, through these solemn silences regarding the one-year period preceding the election of WSA, there is a risk that the proposal might - quite contrary to the will of its author - set a real trap for Saharan refugees on return to their illegally occupied country.
Without adequate guarantees and protection from the United Nations, through, inter alia, the engagement of its own authority in the occupied Territory, many previous experiences (such as Rwanda and Timor) confirm in advance that the above-mentioned one-year period will be the occasion of a mass repression of Saharans and a blemish on the name of the United Nations itself. Moreover, the Moroccan repression to which Saharans in the occupied part of the Territory continue to be subjected, in spite of the presence of MINURSO since 1991, is a further proof of the serious dangers ahead.

2. With regard to the release of political prisoners and prisoners of war (para. 19), the proposal omits to raise the question of the responsibility of either party should it evade its obligations. We are all aware that Morocco persists in refusing to provide any information to the International Committee of the Red Cross regarding the fate of the Saharans held in its jails. Does that mean that the United Nations thereby intends to forget those detainees and prisoners and to release the occupier from its serious responsibilities in this regard?

3. With regard to the repatriation of refugees (para. 19), the proposal restricts itself to stipulating that: "The interested parties agree that they shall continue their full cooperation with relevant international bodies until the completion of the repatriation process". However, by undertaking to assume full responsibility for the referendum, the United Nations undertakes to assume primary responsibility for the protection and security of, and assistance to, refugees. That was formally agreed and specified in the Settlement Plan, with the agreement of the two parties. The relevant provisions were set forth in paragraphs 22 to 28 of the detailed Plan submitted by the Secretary-General to the Security Council (report contained in document S/1997/882). Renouncing those provisions or even ignoring them would mean exposing the refugees to serious danger upon repatriation without protection and during resettlement without security guaranteed by MINURSO and without the anticipated assistance from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.

4. With regard to the provisions applicable to the troops of the two parties (para. 20), the proposal provides that these would be the measures to reduce, confine and contain them envisaged in the Settlement Plan, as supplemented by the Houston agreements. This gives rise to some major questions, including the following:

(a) Does this mean that the 65,000 Moroccan troops intended, under the Settlement Plan, to be kept contained and monitored by MINURSO (for a period of six months prior to the referendum) would henceforth be scheduled to remain in Western Sahara for more than four years? Logic and fairness would demand that almost all of these 65,000 men be withdrawn from Western Sahara in order to remove a serious threat;

(b) Does this mean that the United Nations intends at the very least to maintain the military unit of MINURSO in its entirety (almost 2,000 men) in Western Sahara for almost four years so that it can ensure observance of the containment and monitoring provisions already agreed on in the Settlement Plan and accepted by the two parties?
In fact, the very logic of the proposal which (para. 8) provides for the powers of WSA in the context of the exercise of "governmental authority", must lead to the withdrawal of practically all of the Moroccan troops still in Western Sahara upon the establishment of WSA.

5. With regard to MINURSO, paragraph 21 of the Plan provides for amending its name and mandate "to enable it to assist in implementation of this Plan, in particular during the period between the Plan's entry into force and the holding of the election of WSA". This statement gives considerable cause for concern, because it would appear to indicate the abdication by the United Nations of its responsibilities in the Territory for a period of four years, thus setting the stage for a potentially lethal confrontation between Western Saharans and the Moroccan occupier.
It bears recalling at this point that, in accordance with its own Charter, the United Nations remains committed to the non-self-governing Territory of Western Sahara. Moreover, the mere fact that the proposal itself outlines a process the final phase of which is a referendum exclusively organized and monitored by the United Nations to determine the final status of the Territory, should in all logic require the presence of the Special Representative and MINURSO under the mandates given to them by the Settlement Plan supplemented by the Houston agreements, mandates that provide not only for the prevention of any escalation of the conflict and derailment of the plan, but also, and more importantly, for the continuing protection of the population of the Western Sahara until the implementation of the final result of the referendum.

6. After the WSA election, the proposal provides for another period of transition of no less than three and no longer than four years. The evidence at hand raises a concern as to why the reasons for this inordinately long period are not specified.

7. The arrangements envisaged for this three- or four-year period are based on two legally inadmissible postulates. Indeed, Morocco is an occupying Power in the Western Sahara and not an administering power. Its sovereignty over the Territory is not recognized and the proposal itself confirms this, since its aim is to hold elections on the final status of the Territory. Consequently:

(a) Morocco cannot be responsible for the foreign relations of a territory over which the international community has never recognized its sovereignty;

(b) The occupying Power cannot conclude agreements or conventions that are binding on the Western Sahara or involve its resources, as confirmed by the Legal Counsel of the United Nations in his opinion of 29 January 2002;

(c) Nor can Morocco determine the international borders of the Western Sahara established by treaties signed between Spain, the administering Power in the Western Sahara, and France, then administering Power in Algeria, Mauritania and Morocco, neighbouring countries of the Western Sahara, and deposited with the United Nations.

8. The proposal intends to confer on WSA powers to exercise governmental authority over the territory of the Western Sahara. It therefore leads to the establishment, by the Western Sahara Authority, of an appropriate administration.
This therefore presupposes the dismantling of the occupying administration in all areas that fall under the remit of WSA. This dismantling/establishment exercise should proceed peacefully and in accordance with the agreement that is supposed to have been signed.
It also follows that MINURSO and the Special Representative should supervise the transition.
Lastly, the foregoing also implies the transfer to WSA of the power to issue titles and documents such as deeds for state ownership, residence and settlement permits, civil-status documents and decisions.

9. The proposal also confers on WSA competence over taxation and economic development, including mining and fisheries. This implies halting the plunder by the Moroccan occupying Power of the natural resources (phosphates and fisheries) of Western Sahara and ensuring that such resources belong exclusively to the Territory and its people, yet the proposal does not make any specific provision to that end.

10. Similarly, since WSA is considered to have competence over education and culture, that should imply that it has the right to teach the languages it wants, to guarantee the freedom of worship and to lay down principles governing society and the institutions, including the right to do justice on behalf of the people.

11. The proposal also confers on WSA competence over internal security and the maintenance of law and order. In some cases, such as the fight against transnational crime, drug trafficking, money-laundering or terrorism, competence over internal security should lead to cooperation at the international level between the WSA police and the police forces of other states or bodies (such as Interpol). However, in this regard, the exclusive competence over foreign relations that the proposal intends to confer on Morocco would be a serious obstacle.

12. The proposal confers on Morocco, the occupier, jurisdiction that is at times vague. Thus, at this stage, nothing prevents Morocco from claiming the right to draft Saharans into the ranks of its army of occupation, a situation whose ludicrousness is there for all to see.

13. The proposal intends to grant to Morocco the right to conserve the trappings of its sovereignty over the Western Sahara, including the flag, currency and stamps. Such a situation would have been conceivable within the framework of specific autonomy agreed under a sovereign State. However, it is inconceivable in non-autonomous, illegally occupied Western Sahara for which the proposal itself suggests a solution aimed at deciding on the final status of the Territory. Accepting the Moroccan flag, currency and stamps in the Western Sahara is tantamount to giving in to the colonizer's claim that it has sovereignty over the Territory.

14. By deeming it necessary to make Morocco responsible for customs in the Western Sahara, the proposal would seriously call into question the economic powers of WSA. Indeed, such situation would have an advance impact in terms of restrictions on imports and exports and the diversion of customs revenues and duties to the detriment of the Western Saharan economy.

15. By envisaging granting to Morocco (whose police practices are well known) the administration of posts and telecommunications, the proposal threatens respect for the universal principle of freedom and the privacy of communications and correspondence. This would be tantamount to calling basic human rights into question, to the detriment of Saharans.

16. The proposal has remained silent on the free movement of goods and persons to and from the Western Sahara. This proposal calls into question the universal principle of freedom of movement, which is also contained in the Settlement Plan and the Houston agreements. Furthermore, the powers envisaged by Morocco with regard to combating any secessionist attempts would undoubtedly result in the people of Western Sahara being locked up in a ghetto of oppression.

17. The proposal fails to stipulate the right of foreigners, especially non-governmental organizations and the media, to have free access to the Western Sahara. Moreover, making the occupier, Morocco, responsible for the Territory's external security would result in granting it the right to censure the entry of foreigners into the Western Sahara. That is why the proposal should have granted only to the services of the United Nations the power to issue entry visas into the Territory.

18. The proposal intends to give Morocco exclusive competence over "all matters relating to the production, sale, ownership, or use of weapons or explosives". That is a "legal" basis which would be established in favour of the occupying Power, which it could use to arm "death squads" with a view to establishing a bloody chaos in the Western Sahara of which the designated victim in advance would be the Saharan people.
Let us also note that the proposal is silent on a universal principle of law, namely, that any activity undertaken by the police must necessarily be subject to monitoring by the magistrate with jurisdiction over the Territory and therefore by the courts that are supposed to be established in the Western Sahara.

19. It should be pointed out that the proposal's intention to confer on Morocco the right to preserve the Territory against secessionist attempts is a serious juridical shift and a blatant anomaly.
It is indeed a grave legal anomaly because any mention of "secession" carries an implication of "territorial integrity". This, of course, is Morocco's colonialist argument; however, such "territorial integrity" is not recognized by the international community and the Saharan people, for its part, has challenged it through its legitimate national liberation struggle. Furthermore, the proposal rejects Morocco's territorial integrity in the Western Sahara, since it is supposed to lead to a referendum on the final status of the Western Sahara.
Furthermore, it is also a blatant anomaly because the proposal in its conception assumes that the Frente POLISARIO would have accepted the arrangement put forward and that the Saharawi People's Liberation Army would be reduced and contained under the supervision of MINURSO. That being the case, where would any "secessionist attempts" come from?
Such a provision would be tantamount to suppressing for three or four years the right of the Saharan people to foster peacefully and democratically, and not only during electoral campaigns, their demand for independence, for which they are still fighting, even while the option of independence naturally still remains one of the options to be decided upon following a free and fair referendum.

20. The proposal intends to establish a judicial authority appointed by WSA in the Western Sahara. At the same time, it gives the highest court of Morocco "jurisdiction to adjudicate the compatibility of any law reserved to the Kingdom". This constitutes unprecedented dual judicial authority over a colonial Territory, without even the arbitration of third party judges representing the United Nations. Its initial effect would be to seriously weaken the powers conferred on the WSA legislative assembly.
The second dangerous consequence of this approach in practice would most probably be that Saharans detained for questioning by the Moroccan security services for attempted secession would be subject to Morocco's special courts. In a nutshell, the occupation and repression of Saharan nationalism would continue, as under the current occupation; such repression would probably be more savage and ferocious, especially with its "validation" by a United Nations sponsored peace plan.

21. Concerning the final referendum on the final status of the Western Sahara, and despite the begging of the question concerning its monitoring by the United Nations (paras. 4 and 15),the process still remains, on the issue of the electorate, marked by a certain unfairness towards the Saharan people and by contradictions in terms of its approach; it is also a fresh source of complications.

(a) Thus, the contents of paragraphs 5 and 6, describing the three components of the electorate (namely, the Saharans already identified, Saharan refugees and the Moroccan settlers) takes the entire process back to the original and ongoing complications concerning the issue of those eligible to vote in the referendum.
Indeed, the United Nations itself admits that for 10 years the implementation of the settlement plan was hampered by the difficulty in resolving the identification issue.
However, by providing for the identification of a new category of voters (the "residents") the United Nations would be heading for a new controversy and a deadlock of the proposed process.

(b) Furthermore, the provisions concerning the counting of "residents on the list of qualified voters" clearly contain some contradictions.
It is stated, on the one hand, that it is the United Nations, "whose decision shall be final and without appeal", which will be responsible for this census. On the other hand, it is indicated that the United Nations shall base its action to that end on "testimony from at least three credible persons and/or credible documentary evidence".
By proceeding thus, Morocco will have the exclusive privilege of claiming the right to vote for its nationals, also providing witnesses and, of course, providing documents. Thus, the proposal would embark the United Nations on yet another open-ended process of identification with the introduction of complications by Morocco, which is to blame for the ongoing deadlock of the settlement plan, precisely with respect to the issue of identification.
It bears recalling at this point that the United Nations Peace Plan accepted by the two parties and endorsed by the Security Council set forth in 1988, when it was initially drafted, and in April 1991 in its final version, that the 74,000 Saharans counted by Spain, the administering Power, constituted the electorate body for the referendum.
Let us also recall that the delaying tactics by Morocco have been as consistent as public on the issue of identification as indicated by the following:

- Its submission to the United Nations as far back as July 1991 of two additional lists of 76,000 and 45,000 Saharans, respectively;

- Its second "Green March" of 17 September 1991 (following the entry into force of the ceasefire of 6 September 1991) getting 170,000 Moroccans to go to the identification commission in the Western Sahara;

- Its third "Green March" of 12 January 1998 (following the Houston agreements, which supported the eligibility criteria, and some weeks after the adoption of the Secretary-General's detailed plan of 13 November 1997 for the holding of the 7 December 1998 referendum) that brought an initial contingent of 50,000 Moroccans to the Western Sahara to be "identified";

- Its lodging of 131,000 appeals in February 2000 (relating to individuals already ruled out by the Identification Commission) to force the United Nations to accept them as voters immediately following the publication of the provisional list of the identification commission on 30 December 1991 and despite Security Council resolutions 1238 (14 May 1999) and 1263 (13 September 1999) by which the Council had appealed to the two parties not to turn the appeals process into a second round of identification.

Lastly, let us recall that in each of the above-mentioned instances the United Nations caved in without succeeding in stopping Morocco's manoeuvres. Thus:

- The entry of 170,000 more Moroccans into the Western Sahara in September 1991 was followed by a revision of the identification criteria that had already been established;

- The entry of 50,000 more Moroccans into the Western Sahara in January 1998 resulted in the calling into question of the identification modalities agreed upon and accepted under the Houston agreements and in the drafting by the Secretary-General of the United Nations of five additional protocols relating to appeals in May 1999;

- Lastly, the publication by the United Nations in December 1999 of the list of identified voters (86,425 persons) was followed by the submission by Morocco of 131,000 appeals concerning cases that had all been already considered and rejected by the United Nations Identification Commission. That resulted in a deadlock in the identification process and brought the implementation of the Settlement Plan to a standstill.

(c) Lastly, the composition of the electorate envisaged under the proposal is both unfair and fatal to the Saharan people:

- It is unfair because the fate of the colonized Saharan Territory would be determined through a referendum in which 86,425 Saharans and (if we were to confine ourselves to the above-mentioned facts) Moroccan settlers four to five times that number would participate;

- It is fatal because the Saharan refugees would be returning to the Western Sahara, to a situation fraught with uncertainty, to be trapped there by the colonizer who would then block once again the process around the "residents" issue and would embark on as brutal a repression as it did in 1975, when it even used napalm against civilians fleeing from the occupation. Not even the Nazis behaved that way when they invaded neighbouring countries of Germany.

22. Furthermore, the proposal does not contain any provisions banning any fresh and massive movement of Moroccans to the Western Sahara. By failing to do so, the four to five years between the entry into force of the proposed plan and the final referendum, will provide ample opportunities for new "green marches", a method used by Morocco to invade the Western Sahara and sustain its occupation of the Territory over the years.

23. The proposal offers no guarantees as to the respect for the results of the proposed referendum, should it lead to independence. It is definitely not the commitment of the interested parties (para. 9) which could be mistaken for an effective guarantee. Such undertakings were made by Morocco in 1988 and 1991 (under the Settlement Plan), then in September 1997 at Houston and in November 1997 at the adoption of the detailed implementation Plan by the Security Council. We all know what happened.
Moreover, it was the Secretary-General himself who stated in his report of 19 February 2002 (para. 48) that "the United Nations might not be able to hold a free and fair referendum whose results would be accepted by both sides; and there would still be no mechanism to enforce the results of the referendum". That should even have provided grounds for including in the proposal sufficient guarantees including through the role of MINURSO and the Special Representative and prior commitments by the Secretary-General and the Security Council to ensure that the results of the referendum would be respected.

24. The agreement contained in the Special Envoy's proposal breaks new ground by introducing a novel idea in the field of agreements.
The document states (para. 1) that the Peace Plan "is an agreement by and between the Kingdom of Morocco and the Frente POLISARIO". In its articles 17 and 19, it refers once again to the Frente POLISARIO for the purposes of settling the fate of the Saharawi People's Liberation Army and reaffirming the Code of Conduct. The proposal makes the Frente POLISARIO one of the five signatories to the "Agreement". However, the Frente POLISARIO does not appear anywhere else in the other 20 pages of the document (unlike Morocco, which is a subject or actor in all phases of the proposed process).
Does the foregoing mean that the Frente POLISARIO would be restricted to the status of a signatory on behalf of the Saharan people but without any further role to play in meeting the commitments it will have undertaken or even as a petitioner for any violations of the Agreement? Would it also mean that the Frente POLISARIO would be stripped of its responsibility for waging a political and peaceful campaign for independence, the very reason why it was appointed as a representative of the Saharan people and for which it has been accepted for decades by the international community, including the United Nations, as interlocutor?
The Frente POLISARIO is a democratic movement and would therefore bear no grudges in seeing genuine Saharans setting up institutions and especially deciding on the future of the Western Sahara.
However, the Frente POLISARIO is also a key partner when it comes to reaching agreement on the terms of any just and final settlement to the conflict. It is therefore also a key partner in the conclusion, implementation and observance of any settlement plan. The proposal should have taken this fact into account and prevented a serious omission.
All the foregoing shows that the Frente POLISARIO is not using delaying tactics nor engaging in evasive manoeuvres to stall the peace efforts of the United Nations.
A just and lasting peace is what is sought by the Saharan people, part of whose country is under occupation, a situation that has forced some of them into a painful exile for 27 years.
The quest for peace through genuine self-determination for the Saharan people is the reason for the many concessions that the Frente POLISARIO has willingly made on behalf of the Saharans, from the unilateral cessation of hostilities (1990) to the ceasefire (1991) and various successive agreements already made with regard to identification criteria. Furthermore, the successive liberation of prisoners of war (a vital component of the Settlement Plan) gives further proof of the Frente POLISARIO's desire for peace.
As for the other party, the occupier Morocco, its only good point has been to constantly proclaim openly, since 1975, that only a "confirmatory" referendum would be held and that the only solution would be one that is "in accordance with its territorial integrity and national sovereignty".

The comments made by the Frente POLISARIO on the Personal Envoy's proposal are meant to bring out its inconsistencies, the serious obstacles it is putting in the way of the efforts suggested by the United Nations and the grave danger it poses to the security and legitimate and inalienable right of the Saharan people to freely decide on its future and that of its own country.

It is in that same spirit and as proof of both the good will and desire of the Saharan people to ensure that the United Nations efforts result in the satisfaction of its own right to self-determination that the Frente POLISARIO is submitting to the Special Envoy, and through him to the United Nations, a proposal which represents a major sacrifice and a major concession.

The aim of this new proposal is to:

- Resolve the long-standing issue of voter identification;
- Reduce the time frame and costs of implementation of the Settlement Plan;
- Uphold the guarantees of impartiality already accepted by the two parties without challenge;
- And put in place guarantees that the results of the referendum will be respected.

To that end, the Frente POLISARIO proposes:

(1) That in order to overcome the deadlock with regard to identification, the United Nations should decide that the electorate should consist of:

(a) The individuals whose names are on the provisional voter lists established by the Identification Commission on 30 December 1999;

(b) The results produced by the Identification Commission following the impartial, rigorous and transparent consideration of the appeals lodged, nearly all of them by Morocco, and recorded by the Identification Commission; such consideration would be conducted with or without the participation of the "chioukh" and its decisions should be final and without appeal;

(c) Such identification, which would take some weeks to finalize, should be completed before the transitional period begins.

(2) Once the identification has been completed, the Settlement Plan supplemented by the Houston agreements would be implemented in accordance with the detailed plan contained in the Secretary-General's report dated 13 November 1997 (S/1997/882).

(3) In order to guarantee respect for the results of the referendum, the Secretary-General and the Security Council would make a commitment in advance to ensuring respect for the outcome of the referendum organized and monitored by the United Nations, the operational mechanism for that purpose being the Special Representative and MINURSO.
The Frente POLISARIO hopes that this new proposal closes all loopholes for delaying tactics: the issue of voter identification would be decided by the United Nations on the basis of information (the appeals) already in its possession. All the other provisions of the Settlement Plan supplemented by the Houston agreements were not challenged by any of the parties.

The Frente POLISARIO hopes that the Personal Envoy and the United Nations will grasp the scope and import of the proposal it is making, which is very consistent with justifications for a peaceful solution acceptable to the two parties and intended to guarantee self-determination for the people of Western Sahara.

It is because its very raison d'être is the quest for a just and lasting solution to the conflict in Western Sahara that the Frente POLISARIO once again reaffirms its willingness to continue cooperating with the Personal Envoy of the United Nations Secretary-General.

Bir Lahlou, 8th of march 2003

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