9 May 2000
Dear Mr Baker,
London Meetings - 14 May 2000
We were very pleased to learn that you have chosen London for your discussions with the Governement of Morocco and the Polisario to put the Western Sahara referendum plan back on track. As you know, the Western Sahara Campaign UK holds tremendous respect for all your efforts.
The Saharawi people have suffered terribly during the past 25 years; under the brutal Moroccan occupation and as determined exiles in the harsh Algerian desert. We believe the time has finally come to put an end to this tragedy.
Not only, have the Saharawis abided by terms of every agreement reached on Western Sahara: the UN Settlement Plan, Houston Accords and Appeals Agreements, but the Polisario has shown the up most patience and co-operation at every stage of the process. Indeed, UN officials testified to this during a recent interview with the Scottish newspaper, The Sunday Herald.
Following your appointment as Special Envoy of the Secretray-General in 1997, the UN has made considerable progress in implementing the referendum. The identification interviews have now been completed and a list of voters published. We believe the only fundamental difficulty remains the issue of the Moroccan appeals. If the UN continues to asess the admissibility of each appeal under the terms of the existing UN Appels protocols, then this issue can be quickly resolved.
If after nearly ten years work, at cost of millions of dollars, the UN fails to organise the vote, this would seriously undermine the credibility of the organisation and its member states. Moreover, the specialist British publication, Janes Intelligence Review, believes that if the UN fails to organise the referendum the likely alternative will be a return to war in Western Sahara which would threaten the stability of the whole region.
Morocco must not be allowed to negociate away the Saharawi people's inalienable right to self-determination as expressed in the UN Charter and the UN Declaration on the Granting of Independaance to Colonial Countries and Territories (RES 1514). It is clear from the uprisings across Western Sahara last September and March, that only a free, fair and transparent referendum will truly resolve the conflict.
We would ask you to impart to the Governement of Morocco that Western Sahara Campaign UK will not rest untill the Saharawi people have exercised this right. If Morocco continues to impede the holding of the plebiscite, they may soon face the ire of international public opinion as Indonesia faced in East Timor.
With all good wishes.
WESTERN SHARA CAMPAIGN UK