April 28, 2002.

The UN Security Council will decide the future of the UN's involvement in Western Sahara on Monday 29th April 2002.

There are attempts to convince members of the Security Council to adopt a resolution favouring the Moroccan inspired "Draft Framework Agreement" option. Such an option would lead to the legitimation of Morocco's occupation and annexation of Western Sahara.

The legitimate representative of the Saharawi people, the Polisario Front, has previously expressed its view that the so-called "Draft Framework Agreement" is an attempt to override the inalienable right of the Saharawi people to self-determination and is therefore utterly rejected by the Saharawi side.

Should the UN chooses, under the influence of a minority of the Security Council members, to renege on its promise to implement the Peace Plan and opt for the so-called "Draft Framework Agreement", the Polisario Front would have no option but to reconsider its cooperation with the UN Mission in Western Sahara (MINURSO).

It is worth remembering that the mandate and task of the UN is to find a just and lasting resolution to the decolonisation issue of Western Sahara, through the implementation of the Peace Plan accepted by both Morocco and the Polisario Front in 1988. The Peace Plan is based on the organisation of a free and fair referendum of self-determination for the Saharawi people and enjoys the support of the international community.

It is quite surprising to see attempts being made to use the UN, which is meant to be an instrument of peace and justice and has always been on the side of the colonised peoples, as a tool to legitimise occupation and in the process violate one of its sacred principles: the right to self-determination.

It is an irony that while the UN is preparing to hand over a fully independent East Timor to its people next month, there are attempts to adopt a totally different approach to an identical situation in Western Sahara.

The Polisario Front remains committed to a peaceful and just resolution to the decolonisation process in Western Sahara but not to the detriment of the inalienable right of the Saharawi people to self-determination and independence.

The Saharawis are convinced that the UN can and indeed able to implement the remaining stages of the Referendum process but what is needed is more courage, political will and determination. The UN must learn from its success in East Timor.

There will be no peace and stability in North West Africa unless there is a just and lasting solution to the conflict in Western Sahara. This can only be achieved when the Saharawi people exercise in a fair, free and democratic manner their right to self-determination. Any other solution will only lead to more instability and misery and will jeopardise the credibility of the UN.

The Saharawi people under the leadership of the Polisario Front remain a force to be reckoned with. They have resisted the occupation for the past 27 years and they enjoy a widespread international support. The Saharawi nation is recognised by more than 70 states from all over the world and is a member of the African Union. These facts can not be obliterated with the stroke of a pen. Any attempts to compromise the Saharawis' legitimate rights are doomed to fail.


[Communiqués, lettres. documents]