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Autonomy is Sahrawi project for Sahrawis

The Secretary-General of the Royal Advisory Council for Saharan Affairs gave, during a visit by a Corcas delegation to Belgium on April 25, 2007, an interview to the Belgium-Moroccan website Wafin.Be.



Full text of the interview: 

Wafin.be: What is the objective from your visit to Belgium?

Maouelainin Ben Khalihenna Maouelainin: As you know, the Belgian Senate conducts hearings with the various parties concerned by the Sahara issue, the last to be audited now is CORCAS, the representative of the majority of Sahrawis living in Morocco, peacefully, with dignity, who have never been heard before.

However, people, especially in Europe, believed that there was only one representative of the Saharan people, which is not true! I am visiting Belgium to explain our point of view before Belgian parliamentarians, members of the Senate Committee in charge of Foreign Affairs and Defence.

Wafin.be: An official delegation paid a visit to Belgium, including the Moroccan Ministers of the Interior, Foreign Affairs and senior Moroccan officials, what do you bring in more compared to their visit?  


Maouelainin Ben Khalihenna Maouelainin: This delegation came to explain to Belgian authorities the Moroccan initiative for the settlement of this problem. I did not only come to expose this initiative, because the Moroccan delegation had the opportunity to do so with Belgian officials.

I came to explain the main features of this autonomy proposed to Sahrawis, and also the complexities of the Sahara problem since the genesis and existence of Polisario.   

We explained that the Sahara issue is first and foremost political, not a problem of decolonization, it is not a problem of undetermined colonization! Also, the problem of the Sahara is Moroccan-Moroccan and these are Moroccans who are on the other side of the Algerian border, living in Tindouf camps, it is these Moroccans, on both sides, that should normally discuss and find a solution to this problem.  


In addition, we explained the genesis and the existence of CORCAS, why it was formed, how it is composed, and so on. We underlined that the CORCAS representation is flawless, with 50% of elected representatives from all tribes, I also explained the tasks assigned to it, among which:  


Participation in development, and this has already begun. Reconciliation between the different parties of the Sahara, ie among Sahrawis in Morocco or elsewhere, and reconciliation between Sahrawis and the Moroccan administration. CORCAS participation in the elaboration of the Moroccan initiative, which was submitted to His Majesty Mohammed VI on December 06, 2006. 
A document that was the basis for the Moroccan initiative presented to the United Nations. I should say that everything that was presented to His Majesty was taken into account, was notified and placed in the Moroccan proposal, which has become now the proposal of the Moroccan nation.

Wafin.be: autonomy proposal which was presented to the UN Secretary General, through the Moroccan Ambassador to the United Nations. What are the outlines of this autonomy project?
Maouelainin Ben Khalihenna Maouelainin: The project itself is highly democratic and revolutionary.
Morocco is a centralized State, and what is being proposed is a kind of autonomy that exists only in developed countries such as Spain, for example.

Autonomy will give the region autonomous institutions, there will be an elected parliament with universal suffrage, and the possibility to have a party elected by the Saharan tribes and the other by the whole population of the region.

This parliament will create a government, with a head of government who will appoint ministers, who will, of course, be invested by His Majesty, it is quite normal. 

The head of government will be also the representative of the Moroccan state and accountable before the Sahrawi parliament.

There will be representatives of this autonomy in both Houses, which is quite normal.  

As an example of the broadness of this autonomy, if Morocco wants to sign a contract with any country and that some clauses concern the Sahara, Morocco must inform the Sahrawi parliament and government. 

Saharawis may forge links with foreign regions, under the condition to inform the Moroccan government. 

All political, economic and social issues in the region will be managed by Sahrawis, only the attributes of sovereignty that will remain under the aegis of the Moroccan government: flag, currency, stamps, foreign affairs, defence and religious attributes of His Majesty as Amir El Mouminine (Commander of the Believers). 

Everything else will be managed autonomously, with a regional funding (taxes), with the region's natural resources and, in the context of national solidarity, Morocco will always contribute to the smooth functioning of the institutions of this autonomous government and to the welfare of the Saharan population.

Wafin.be: What about Polisario, are they aware of the details of this autonomy proposal? Is there any contact with them? Do they agree?

Maouelainin Ben Khalihenna Maouelainin: It must be said that Polisario Front is composed of three categories:

There is the elders and the irreducible, ie those who are under the yoke of the Algerian secret services, who do not want to hear and have already formed their Republic (SADR)

There is another party formed by professionals, people who were disappointed by the management by Polisario leaders for thirty years; people who have seen their dreams evaporate, living in a nightmare without a name, so-called the sceptics.

These are people who want to return, who want autonomy, yet they are not totally confident in Morocco, they want autonomy to become real before adhering to it. 

There is a large majority that exceeds 80% of the Saharan population in Tindouf, the poorest, who have had enough of living abroad, so they want to return to Morocco.

To answer your question, of course we discuss with our brothers and cousins, there are contacts only with the latter two categories I have just mentioned. Some people have one desire which is to die home on Moroccan soil! 

It is a project by Sahrawis and for Sahrawis, they applaud for this project. Surely, it is the only solution that would satisfy the various parties, including international bodies and the Algerian government, if it really wants the welfare of Sahrawis.  


Wafin.be: What about the timing and when the referendum quoted in the article 27 of the draft will take place?
Maouelainin Ben Khalihenna Maouelainin: It is a solution proposed for discussion, and it is during this discussion that the timing will be determined.  

Morocco has submitted its proposal, if we take the world to witness, if we show good will, and if we are led by faith, the problem will be solved!

Now, the timing does not depend on us, but we will not remain still, we involve everybody and we will see the results.

Source: wafin.be
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