Presentation of the interviewer: Welcome Ladies and Gentlemen to this special meeting.The last visit of the Sovereign to the Southern Provinces was characterized by His Majesty Mohammed VI declaration, in his Royal speech, last March 25th, concerning the nomination of the CORCAS’s new members. According to this speech, the CORCAS became a strong force to make propositions to defend the national unity of the Kingdom and the development of the Southern Provinces.
His Majesty the King emphasized, in the Royal speech, the necessity for CORCAS to bring the necessary dynamism with its new structure and conferred to the Council some prerogatives in order to make it contribute, besides public authorities, in defending the Moroccan aspect of the Sahara.
His Majesty appointed Mr. Khalihenna Ould Errachid President of the Royal Advisory Council for Saharan Affairs, whom we have invited in this meeting to give an idea to the auditors about the missions conferred to the Council by the Royal Decree, and to get to know the results of the Council’s first session held between the 4th and 6th April, in Rabat.
Welcome Mr. Khalihenna Ould Errachid.
Khalihenna Ould Errachid: Welcome to you.
Question: Well, the last Royal visit to the Southern Provinces which was characterized by the nomination of the Royal Advisory Council for Saharan Affairs and its new members, is certainly a new historical milestone in the region’s history as well as for our national issue.
What are the Council’s first tasks as determined by the Royal Decree?
KOE: The Royal decision of His Majesty the King Mohammed VI, on the 25th March, in Laâyoune, is indeed a historical decision turning the page of the past and opening a new horizon to reach a final solution for this issue. This step is considered to be a historical one, not only for the Sahara region but also for the Kingdom’s history as well where no other similar project had ever been declared, meaning granting autonomy to a region of the Kingdom so as to enable the people to manage their political, economic, social and cultural affairs under the national unity and the Moroccan sovereignty. The objective of His Majesty behind the creation of this Council is clearly stated in the Founding Royal Decree, which resides in assisting His Majesty the King Mohammed VI to preserve the Kingdom’s national unity and to show interest in the economic and social development of these provinces. Furthermore, the Royal Decree determines clearly the Council’s prerogatives and the spheres of its intervention and endows it with a strong force of proposal supported by His Majesty to find solutions to all the issues relating to our national issue, whether at the national or international level. Within this context, the Council held its first session on April 4th , 5th , 6th, and discussed the agenda containing the setting up of the Council’s internal regulations and rules stemming from the Royal Decree and the election of nine vice-presidents. Fortunately, this session was held in good national conditions and the members discussed all the items in the agenda in democracy, transparency and common agreement conditions resulting, primarily, in the approval of the Council’s internal regulations project and the election of nine vice-presidents, in a democratic, transparent ballot, expressing credibility and confidence required by the members and then the population.
Question: Last Thursday, was closed the first working session of the CORCAS. 140 members were present during this session to discuss the agenda and the internal regulations of the Council as well as the election of nine vice-presidents. Those elected were: Khedad El Moussaoui, Aba Abdelaziz, Omar Bouida, Ali Salem Chekaf, Keltoum Khayat, Hassan Derhem, Ila Othman, Brika Zerouali and Cherif Hasna
How was the election of the nine vice-presidents?
Khalihenna Ould Errachid: It was a free and secret ballot and the result reflected the members’ interest in preserving this balance, because this is the nature of the society, but it was fully applied to the democratic process and practice, meaning the secret and free voices reflected the real will. In fact, its application on tribes and clans balances is a mere coincidence expressing the maturity and responsibility of the Council’s members when they elected these nine vice-presidents.
Question: In a declaration to the National Radio, at the closing of the First Session, last Thursday, you talked, Mr. Khalihenna Ould Errachid, about the necessity of ignoring the inherited family disputes referring to disputes between Sahrawi people.
How would you reconcile Sahrawis, through the CORCAS, and within the framework of your next strategy?
Khalihenna Ould Errachid: True, as I said the Sahara issue comes from the disputes among the successive administrations and the Sahrawi citizens. These disputes caused many disastrous consequences in some aspects as some people asked for separation, others disputed with the nation and others chose to keep away.
The Royal initiative came to allow a fresh start, forget this negative period, and to express His Majesty’s will to build a modern democratic Morocco, a Morocco which gives full rights to its constituents, and to say that disputes of the past are over and that autonomy which will enable Sahrawis to practice and manage their own political, economic, social, and cultural affairs is a final substitute for separation, putting a historical end to all disputes inherited from the past and opening a new page for general reconciliation. A reconciliation between the Sahrawis themselves and between the Sahrawis, on the one hand, and the Moroccan administration, on the other hand, under the direction of his Majesty the King supported by the Moroccan people.
Thus, we will work within this framework which we will explain to the Sahrawi who are concerned by this program, whether they are in Tindouf or Mauritania or elsewhere, that what they were, historically, asking for, has become today a reality thanks to the Royal will. We should work on its fullfilment on field for everybody’s interest, so that nobody would feel marginalized anymore. Each one will feel that he has become the main aim of the economic and social development, that all Sahrawis constitute the heart of the issue and that they are all the main goal of this policy, that they will be the ones to play a role in its achievement and results. They will be as they always wanted, part of the Moroccan Kingdom, i.e. they would become a fundamental pillar in the Moroccan Kingdom, by their will. Obstacles of the past are hence over and the new Morocco is the one that His Majesty the King is looking for in all other sectors, not only relating to the Sahara issue, but also in relation to the economic, political, social and women and young people rights issues. A new modern Morocco where Moroccans are strongly unified. We will thus work within this framework in order to achieve this goal as laid out by His Majesty the King.
Not only Sahrawis who will take advantage of this policy but the whole country as well. Reconciliation is a Royal will to forget the past and to make a new start reflecting the new Morocco, a start that would be a model for this Morocco. Sahrawis are concerned with this affair more than ever. I am sure and optimist that they will undoubtedly support this project as there is no Sahrawi who will say that his fathers or ancestors were separatists or that there was a cut with the Kingdom or that they were one day claiming another form different from Morocco, but they were always asking for a position within the Kingdom, a guaranteed political, economic, social and cultural position. This is in fact what His Majesty the King Mohammed VI achieved and what he ordered us to achieve at his side, by the will of God.
Question: The CORCAS has been granted wide powers in order to achieve these missions, an advisory quality embodied in expressing opinion about the major affairs in which His Majesty the King asks its opinion, a strong force to make proposals to improve the situation of young people and women and the expression of their ambitions through the promotion of education, training and employment, the strengthening of the regional and national solidarity and the reinforcement of human rights within the framework of law sovereignty and preservation of the region's cultural specificities as well as the territorial integrity of our Moroccan Sahara.
As far as the media strategy is concerned, Mr Khalihenna Ould Errachid, what is the future vision of work at the national and international level?
KOE: We will start with a national and international strategy in order to confirm our right and to explain our affair at all levels. This strategy will be based on professionalism, on the Sahara's credibility, not only for Sahrawis residing in the country or abroad, and not only for the concerned foreign countries. We will explain to them as real Sahrawis asking for their legitimate rights, we will explain to them that this solution, the Royal project, is the best solution for the Sahrawis claiming for their rights, the best for the Moroccan State willing to build new basis for a decentralized and modern State following the European model. It's also the best example for the Arab Maghreb in need of tranquillity, peace and stability to build its future on modern basis, and it is also the common past, present and future. It's the final solution for this conflict and for the peoples in this African region.
Interviewer: Thank you, Mr. Khalihenna Ould Errachid, President of the Royal Advisory Council for Saharan Affairs. Thank you ladies and gentlemen for having listened to us.
Regards from Mohammed Sabir and Lhoucine Khabachi who was with you.