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Khalihenna: the concept of autonomy is different from the concepts of «expanded areas» «decentralization» or  region system

Asharq Al Awsat: Corcas chairman, Khalihenna Ould Errachid, said that he submitted autonomy project proposal to the Moroccan monarch, King Mohammed VI for ratification. The project aims to give the Saharan population large authorities to conduct their own affairs under Moroccan sovereignty, believing it will be a final solution, sparing the region from «instability».



Ould Errachid, who was talking to the press yesterday in Rabat said that the project, endorsed by the Council members after serious secret discussions that have lasted for six months, includes three basic issues; first, preserve all the features of Moroccan sovereignty over the Sahara; second, ensure political, cultural and economic rights of all Saharans to handle their own affairs. The third issue relates to conformity with international legitimacy, namely the standards relating to self-determination, which means effective participation of the concerned.


Ould Errachid added that the council’s proposal concerns «autonomy» in the Sahara rather than concepts such as « expanded regions”, «decentralization» or “region system”. He pointed out that there is one standard applied in the European countries and in America, and this same standard will be applied in Morocco, describing it as the only possible option, in line with the Charter of the United Nations, having failed to apply a «referendum» based on identification, which is impossible to apply, since the Sahara population is not living only in Western Sahara, but their presence extends to four countries: Morocco, Algeria, Mauritania and Mali. He highlighted that a referendum in this case requires movement across those States, and change of borders, and this will create many conflicts.

He added that autonomy proposal will be final and not subject to review neither by Morocco nor the region’s population, each one having its specificities that must be respected forever. «Independence» cannot be claimed after five or ten years by the Sahara population nor they can change the agreement. He highlighted that the world’s major powers are satisfied with this solution to spare the North African region and sub-Saharan countries many risks.


Ould Errachid said this project will become a model in Africa and the Arab and Islamic world. In this regard, he added that «that this project is a historic act, in which all Saharans who represent two-thirds of the Sahara population have taken part, while there is approximately 25 per cent of the population living in the camps (Tindouf) on Algerian territory. The project comes within the scope of brave reforms carried out by Morocco in all areas and that have won international recognition.


In response to Algerian position which considers itself not interested by the Sahara issue but which submits at the same time proposals and recommendations at the international events supporting Polisario front which claims independence, Ould Errachid said that Algeria’s position is contradictory since it hosts Sahrawis on its territory deprived of basic human rights.

Ould Errachid added that Algeria’s support to Polisario is due to a political crisis within Polisario that has been aggravated following the creation of the Royal Advisory Council for Saharan Affairs, calling on Polisario members to go home in order to contribute to the region’s development. Ould Errachid announced that Royal Council carried out contacts during the preparation of autonomy adding that Polisario is not able to submit any acceptable alternative likely to end people’s sufferings.


Ould Errachid said that he was carrying out and receiving calls from Sahrawis living in Tindouf and elsewhere, believing that Sahrawi refugees will go back to Morocco if they are permitted to. He called on Algeria to help with this as a neighboring country.


Ould Errachid focused on the comprehensive aspect of the project that “provides answers to all issues” adding that Morocco has entered a new era after the submission of the project to the Moroccan King. He believed that the next steps will be quick and that Morocco will work to apply the project. Corcas chairman denied diversions among the Council’s members since it is not a party or association.

News and events relating to Western Sahara issue / Corcas

 

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