Said Jdidi: Ladies and Gentlemen, good evening. I am pleased and honoured to invite Mr. Khalihenna Ould Errachid whom all of you know and who has been recently appointed by His Majesty the King Mohammed VI, in Laayoune, as President of the Royal Advisory Council for Saharan Affairs.
Mr.Khalihenna, welcome and glad to have you with us.
So, Mr. President, a new Council, a new President, a new Secretary General, so, does is it mean a new culture and policy?
KOE: That’s right. It is an important project achieved by His Majesty the King Mohammed VI, in the city of Laayoune, on the 25th March. It is also a new policy in Morocco that has decided to solve the Sahara issue definitely, in a way which would suit the peculiarity of citizens in this region.
There are some claims which are representing problems for some parties. So, now, under the Royal patronage, Morocco has suggested the solution of substantial autonomy allowing, in a more civilized and modern way, the South inhabitants to manage their political, economic, social and cultural affairs.
S J: If we concentrate a little bit, we will notice that there is some confusion for some people here and there about the Council, what can we say about its composition and how can we evaluate it?
KOE: First of all this Royal Council does not stand for substantial autonomy, it is a preliminary stage preparing for the self-governing project. It is a Council in which was taken into consideration the Sahara patrimony characteristics, a Council founded on the choices of all the parties. There is a participation from all the parties in a democratic way which is in conformity with the local traditions and habits in the Sahara, with the presence of different parties representing the “chioukhs” (kind of leaders) who were elected in 1981, of members of Parliament, besides presidents of different regions, municipalities and provinces, as well as the civil society represented in the strong participation of young people, women and different persons with great experience in this field.
So, the Council contains many competent personalities considered as such by tribes, and also for their education, knowledge, their being acquainted with Sahara traditions so that they can perform their advisory role.
S J: Mr. Khalihenna Ould Errachid, what should Morocco do, within the diplomatic strategy with Spain, concerning the Sahara issue?
First of all, Spain is a friendly and neighbour country, it is also a country with which we have, and would always have, historical, cultural and geographical relations.
Spain and Morocco really constitute a historical block of interests, there can be some problems coming from misunderstanding or something like that, or perhaps false information. This is why, it is up to the inhabitants of the South as well as those in the North of Morocco, with Spanish culture, to invest all our efforts in making the friendly relationship between Morocco and Spain more deeper, so that the people from these two countries understand each other much more better.
This is why I am going to speak to Spain and the Spanish people in the Spanish language.
S J: Good luck Mr. Khalihenna Ould Errachid.
KOE: Thank you.