Mr. Mohamed Sidati

Minister-Counsellor to the Presidency of the Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic

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With the adoption, on 4 th December 1960, of the resolution 1514 (XV) regarding Declaration on Granting Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples, the United Nations gave new impetus to the process of decolonisation while do ing justice to the aspirations of peoples that were struggling for regaining their freedom and independence. The right to self-determination, which is a determining factor in this process, remains more than ever a rule applicable to all colonial situations with a view to putting them to a speedy and unconditional end. Despite the fact that the question of Western Sahara has been on the agenda of the United Nations since 1966, as a question of decolonisation, the Saharawi people have not been granted their inalienable right to self-determination as yet.

One may call to mind the whole inventory of resolutions that reaffirmed, ever since that date, the right of the Saharawi people to self-determination, including the resolution 690 that was adopted by the Security Council in June 1990. The resolution provided for a Settlement Plan aiming at the holding of a self-determination referendum that would enable the Saharawi people to choose their own destiny freely and democratically.

Since the signing of Houston Accords between the Frente POLISARIO and Morocco on 16th September 1997, the Settlement Plan entered in an advanced phase of its implementation, especially after the assiduous work carried out by the Identification Commission. With the encouraging efforts of the international community, the ID Commission was able to establish a temporary list of voters found eligible to take part in the promised referendum, which should have already taken place, but that has been repeatedly postponed.

The Saharawi people have expected the Nations United, as a guarantor of the right to self-determination, to employ all its powers provided for in the Charter to ensure that Morocco honour its commitments. We must all declare ourselves in favour of a process of legitimate self-determination for which the United Nations acknowledged the responsibility to bring to conclusion. However, the UN has unfortunately proved incapable to ensure respect for the process, owing to the bad faith exhibited by Morocco and the involvement of certain countries such as France that continues offering its blessing to aggression and arbitrariness.

The Peace Plan is not an option but an agreement buttressed by an international consensus. And it is not because one of the parties, namely Morocco, is opposed to it that the referendum should be rendered invalid and International Law be held in disregard.

We are witnessing now the episodes of the frenzied campaign conducted by France in defence of Moroccan expansionist designs in Western Sahara. France has left no stone unturned in order to impose the « Framework Agreement » which is nothing else than a programmed integration and a short-tern annexation of Western Sahara to Morocco. However, what is more alarming about this manoeuvre, which seeks to circumvent the inalienable right of the Saharawi people who have had to offer enormous human sacrifices and to endure the hardships of exile, is the involvement of the United States and Britain in promoting the « Framework Agreement » at the instigation of France. It is indeed pertinent in this context to remind these three powers of their responsibility and duty as permanent members of the Security Council to make Right prevail over Might.

Should the « Framework Agreement » - which is null and void besides being illegal since it overrides the right of a whole people- be imposed for whatever reason, this will mean a declaration of war on the right of the Saharawi people, and will hence give rise to more instability and insecurity in the region. The « Framework Agreement » is contrary to legality because it aims to empty right of its substance and replace it with incursion and fraud.

In effect, the « Framework Agreement », and apart from « laïcisation » the annexation of Western Sahara, sanctions the illegal exploitation and plundering of the resources of the territory. The agreements concluded between Morocco and the two oil companies, the American Kerr-Mc Gee and the French Total Fina Elf, are an illustrating example in this respect.

At a time when the Security Council is about to examine anew the situation of the conflict of Western Sahara, we have every right to call upon the international community and the other state members of the Security Council to continue courageously defending Right and Legality and to keep firm against the blatant designs of manoeuvring and distortion. The Saharawi people cannot tolerate any deviation from the decolonisation process in Western Sahara. It is indeed important and equally urgent to consciously be aware of the gravity of the situation and the sinister conspiracy that seeks to bypass the Peace Plan.

It is not only a matter of safeguarding the credibility of the United Nations and its Security Council but also of seeking earnestly to save the chances of a just and lasting peace in Western Sahara.

The exercise by the Saharawi People of their inalienable right to self-determination is the key element in this entire problematic. Anything rather than the respect of this right will be equal to naught.

The whole question consists in whether the Security Council, as an institution, is willing to curb the insatiable territorial ambitions of Morocco and to enquire into the real role played by France who makes no secret of its unconditional support to Morocco in its expansionist politics. The Moroccan kingdom does not anymore hesitate to act heedlessly, and its recent coup de force against Spain cannot be overstated. Its acts of aggression must be contained and neutralised since it may have incalculable repercussions on peace and stability in the whole western part of the Mediterranean Failing this, the objective of peace and security would not be anymore but a wishful thinking.

We believe firmly that concerns for legality, security and stability for all peoples of our region entail breaking away from these narrow visions. For the true challenge consists in achieving a just and lasting solution that cannot be conceived outside the ambit of faithful attachment to commitments, since they represent the best guarantee for a genuine and enduring solution.

Brussels, 16 th July 2002.


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