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Friday, October 07, 2022
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Corcas chairman: we won’t allow somebody harm autonomy

President of the Royal Advisory Council for Saharan Affairs Mr. Khalihenna Ould Errachid called on Algeria to abide by its commitments to the United Nations on the Sahara issue by not interfering in the region’s conflict, or putting obstacles in front of the international community and international efforts seeking to resolve this issue.



Mr. Ould Errachid told “Asharq Al Awsat”  "We call on Algeria to respect what it says to its own people to our people, the United Nations and the international community, as being not a party to the conflict, and has no claim on the Sahara issue, and that the Western Sahara conflict is an internal matter between Morocco and the Polisario Front.»

He added in response to a question about the possibility of opening a dialogue with Algeria on autonomy, "We want Algeria not to put obstacles in front of the United Nations and States wishing to solve this problem, and not to put obstacles in the way of Sahrawi-Sahrawi dialogue to resolve this issue, and to encourage our brothers on its territory to engage in a dialogue with us so that we can get out of this historical predicament that does not serve the interests of Algeria and the interests of all Arabs and Muslims. "


Mr. Ould Errachid denied the existence of "profound differences" between Morocco and Algeria, saying that there are "points of disagreement, but only psychological; we want to break psychological obstacles with Algerians."


With regard to the position of the "Polisario" about the autonomy project, Mr. Ould Errachid said this project is "not made for a party or body or organization such as the Polisario," adding that "the autonomy project is our project as Sahrawis and we do not allow anyone to undermine our dream ".

He described "Polisario" as "political-military organization of the old socialist-style, relying on single-party and single-thought and single strategic."

On the other hand, he said the doors of the Royal Advisory Council for Saharan Affairs, "will be open not only to membership, but to enter into direct negotiations to resolve the conflict and return not as losers but as winners and honourees (), they should consider autonomy as a solution without winner or  loser."
Regarding the role of the Moroccan community, he stressed that "their role is important and essential in establishing our," adding "the issue of the Moroccan Sahara is subject of consensus by all Moroccans."

Brussels: Abdellah Mustapha: A Moroccan delegation representing the Royal Advisory Council for Saharan Affairs created last March by a decision from the King Mohammed VI in order to prepare autonomy plan for the Southern provinces and submit a report to the King next fall on the Council’s views about autonomy as an alternative for the Sahara conflict which has lasted for 30 years.

Asharq Al Awsat  met the Council’s chairman Khallihenna Ould and discussed with him the visit’s reasons and the main features of the project  as well as the obstacles in front of finding a solution to the conflict and Algeria’s role in this issue.

Q: why are you visiting Belgium?
KOE: we are in Brussels for two reasons: visit Belgium and visit the EU institutions. We met with different opposition and governing Belgium political parties, MPs and Senate members. We also met with officials from the European Commission and European Parliament and representatives of political groups and parties in the Parliament. Our objective is to explain autonomy content to Sahrawi entities and the reasons that led King Mohammed VI to propose autonomy as final solution which has lasted for more than three decades.

We came to explain to all these parties that autonomy is proposed because the other options did not work whether during war period which lasted for 16 years in vain and was a catastrophe to Sahrawis, the Maghreb and Africa.
We clarified to Europeans that there is another way chosen by the UN to solve the problem following ceasefire which coincided with the Soviet Union collapse in 1991. The UN started the settlement process but chose the wrong way which is referendum never experienced obviously in any other place. The UN did not manage to carry out referendum in spite of its ten year attempts. The reason is that the Sahara inhabitants do not live only in the Sahara which was occupied by Spain; they are living also in other regions such as south-eastern Algeria, north-western Mauritania and northern Mali. In order to realize such a referendum, we have first of all to define borders but this was not possible and not logical. Consequently, war failed, referendum failed and the result was deadlock.
Q: what did you exactly ask Europeans for?
A: we asked them to support the solution they had already supported to resolve a lot of problems i.e. dialogue and negotiations. This is our method to solve this issue.

But in order to convince the European side, you should present the main features of the report that you are going to submit to the King by the end of next autumn. Are you going to tell us about these main features?

Autonomy plan content is not completed yet. We are studying it since this regime is new to Morocco and the Whole Arab World. We are studying its constitutional, legal and regulatory aspects and will be ready next fall by the Royal Advisory Council for Saharan Affairs. However, we told our European friends that autonomy will be political based on the internationally recognized criteria and according to what is existing in Europe. We will take example from Europe especially closer countries which have already experienced autonomy and decentralization.
I told Europeans that this is a true autonomy since Europe knows the difference between a true and false autonomy. What Morocco is proposing is a political autonomy that will allow people handle their own affairs by themselves. I mean the political, economic and social affairs. Autonomy techniques, on the other hand, are know to Europeans since there are competencies related to the State and others related to autonomy and there are common competencies.
Accordingly, our project is serious and credible and meets international criteria and not a political or diplomatic manoeuvring. It will have effects on the Moroccan state and requires democratic, administrative and constitutional revolution to treat and deal with the new situation. This challenge makes Morocco move confidently towards setting up democratic institutions and state of law. This cannot be achieved without satisfying people and this is what the king will do.
We asked Europeans to support the UN to end this conflict which does not serve parties since it has not prevented Algerian civil war and the African division and did not help the Great Maghreb. The conflict has not served Sahrawis as well, on the contrary, it resulted in division and suffering in camps. We call on Algeria, with which we share history, present and the future, to comply with what it says to its people, to Morocco and to the world when it affirms not to be a party in the conflict and has no claims relating to the Sahara issue and when it syas that this is a Moroccan internal problem between Morocco and Polisario within the UN.
We don’t want Algeria to impede the UN efforts and countries willing to solve this problem. We ask it not to make obstacles before the Sahrawi-Sahrawi dialogue and encourage our brothers living in its territories to enter into dialogue with us so that we can leave behind this historical mess which is not serving Algerian, Arab and Muslim interests

Q: What if Polisario refused?
KOE: I don’t believe in refusal. Autonomy is not addressed to a party, entity or an organisation like Polisario which is a political military organisation similar to the ancient socialist model. It is unique party, unique thinking and unique strategy. I don’t believe in that and Polisario cannot say it is the only or unique representative. I tell Sahrawis that autonomy is our project and we will not let anyone harm it. This is dream achieving.


Q: How are you going to convince Algeria to support dialogue and negotiations?
KOE: I pray God to guide them, I must say that there has never been serious conflict between Morocco and Algeria but of course there are some divergence based on psychological problems that we want to eradicate.

Q: is Corcas mission linked to autonomy plan submission or will it continue working afterwards?
KOE: According to the Royal decision, Corcas mission lasts four years. It is the King who created the Council and it is him who decides when it ends. After reaching an agreement on autonomy we will see. Of course, things are going change if autonomy is applied.


Q: on which basis corcas members were created?
KOE: the Council started last March 25, its members are appointed by the King. It includes personalities representing all Saharan tribes enjoying good reputation. The Council gathers 141 members including 10% of women, and there are youth, sheiks, managers and it reflects Sahrawi society.

Q: If Polisario members want to join the Council will you accept them?
A: There are already “returning” members and we have nothing against Polisario members. The father of Polisario leader is a member in the Council. We open doors for our brothers not only to become members in the Council but also to enter into direct negotiations to solve  the problem and come back not as losers but winners with full dignity for autonomy is a solution without winner or looser.
Q: You met Moroccan nationals living in Brussels, are you expecting them to play a role in the conflict?
A: Moroccan nationals abroad play major part in this issue especially those living in Europe. They are militants. We came here to meet them and brief them about facts. We visited France and Spain and we will visit other countries to meet Moroccan nationals living there as well as the media so as to clarify vision for everybody.

 

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