Mr Khalihenna had a long interview last Friday with the Spanish Radio “CADENA SER” in which he talked about the events concerning the so-called Aminatou Haidar
CADENA SER: Mr Khalihenna Ould Errachid, Good morning, you are the chairman of the council, advisory council for the king for Saharan affairs, aren’t you?
Mr Khlihenna: yes, and it is the Royal advisory council for Saharan affairs
CADENA SER: The Moroccan authorities are talking to the USA and Spain about the situation of Mrs Haidar?
Mr Khalihenna: Haidar complicated the matter herself to a large extent, of course when somebody takes a decision, he can not be stopped, this lady created this unfortunate situation. Morocco is not responsible for such situation, Morocco does not want to put Mrs Haidar in any trial at all, it is she who chose the timing, and what to do with, and accordingly she is doing the appropriate propaganda, but it is clear that Morocco is defending her interests, her dignity and the feelings of her people . We are sorry for what is happening, but it is due to Mrs Haidar’s willingness, and to the parties which push her to do what is up to now , particularly Algeria and Polisario,we are sorry for this situation that should not happened normally .
CADENA SER: do you believe that the government will give her back her passport, so she can return to Laayoune?
Mr Khalihenna : Aminatou Haidar was an activist in the field of human rights, at least that what she claimed, she used to enjoy her rights, and she often travelled abroad without any problems, no problems occurred at all, not at the airport , not at Laayoune, and not while she was receiving delegations, journalists and diplomats. I do not know why she has chosen such timing, to challenge Morocco and Moroccans without any reason. I consider that it is not possible, to enjoy a situation as a person, and then have the desire to change it in no time, that is what she wanted to do, meaning I do not know why she wanted in her trip to say that she was not Moroccan, after forty years of enjoying the Moroccan citizenship, travelling with Moroccan passport and returning to the homeland, to claim the contrary; now is indeed a lie. I do not understand Mrs Haidar, therefore why she wanted to do what she is doing now. Morocco did not do anything against her, it did not confiscate her passport, it is her who willingly created this situation in a planed manner, in order to practice pressure on Morocco for other reasons which have nothing to do with human rights
CADENA SER: now, there are persons who have been arrested , because they are Human rights activists ?
Mr khalihenna: do you mean the seven persons who travelled to Laayoune?
CADENA SER : yes
Mr Khalihenna : well , those seven young persons , they also used to say that they are human rights defenders, they use to travel often to Europe and to the rest of the world, nobody bothers them, and they were not stopped from travelling , but when they decided to go to Tindouf, to work with the Algerian intelligence services against the Vital interests of Morocco , it is obvious that Morocco has to put an end to this situation, and this obvious reaction exists in any country that wants to defend its security . They have made a serious mistake, to go to Tindouf and meet up with the Algerian intelligence services, and Polisario, they should not have made such mistake at all , having said that , when they used to go to Geneva , to the canary islands , to Madrid, to New york, nobody bothers them being defenders of human rights . but to go to Tindouf in order to meet the Algerian intelligence services in order to create troubles in Morocco, it is obvious for Morocco, as it is for Spain or any other country to take the necessary measures to defend its territorial integrity.
CADENA SER: well, this does not happen in Spain
Mr Khalihenna : yes , yes it happens , that is what Spain does with whoever claims to defend terrorism and ETA, Spain takes the necessary measures, when the matter required to stop ETA’s militants, Spain behaved that way without any problem .
CADENA SER: yes, concerning people who agree upon terrorism, yes.
Mr Khalihenna: when those seven people used to travel to Geneva, or to the Canary Islands, they did it from the political point of view, and Morocco did not stop them, whereas when they went to Tindouf, it was for terrorist purpose, and this is the mistake they made.
CADENA SER: : what would be their fate?
Mr Khalihenna: they will prosecuted normally, if they made any mistake, then the justice will solve this problem
CADENA SER: are you in Laayoune?
Mr Khalihenna: no, Iam not in Laayoune
CADENA SER: do you know that the Spanish media talked about contacts between the Moroccan government and the United States?
Mr Khalihenna: we have contacts with the USA, Spain, and the world, this is normal
CADENA SER: the European Union asks for the problem to be solved?
Mr Khalihenna: how can we solve this problem, if this lady says that her country is Western Sahara, Western Sahara as a state does not exist? Do you think that there is a state in Western Sahara? Polisario front which claimed that the Sahara is separated from Morocco does not exist in the Sahara. It exists in Tindouf in Algeria, and if “Haidar” would like to become part of Polisario, she has to go to Tindouf in Algeria, but if she opts to be in Laayoune, there, there are only Moroccans. Mrs Haidar also was not born in Laayoune, but in Tan Tan, meaning she was born in an undisputed area. I do not know why she claims now that she is not Moroccan, up to now she travelled using a Moroccan passport, and she holds a Moroccan identity card, why does she claim the contrary? She is the one who has got the answer; Morocco does not forbid Mrs Haidar from returning to her country, if she decides now to win back her nationality, and to apologize to the Moroccan people to whom she hurt their feelings, feelings of 35 million Moroccans …….
CADENA SER: …but the UN says that this land is waiting for decolonization?
Mr Khalihenna : no, Sahara is a Moroccan land, but there is a dispute, which is the object of the upcoming negotiations, but these negotiations will not say that the Sahara is independent, because we will opt for one option only. Now this land is Moroccan and it will remain so. I do not know why Haidar complicate things, do you know? While she says her country is Western Sahara, she says she is not going to get back her Moroccan nationality; it is she who is adding difficulties to her situation, whereas we are in the process of politicizing an affair which is not a political one, she gives the impression that she is a human rights defender. Why does she say now that she is a Polisario militant, and support the independence of the Sahara?
CADENA SER: could a person who thinks or feels that he is a supporter of the independence live in Morocco ?
Mr Khalihenna : no , a person can say that he is for a referendum , and that is what Mrs Haidar and others say, so nobody put them in the jail, but saying that the sahara is not Moroccan, this not a political view anymore, it is an hostile towards the Moroccan territorial integrity . There is a difference between saying that you are in favour of a referendum, meaning expressing a political view, and she is free to say so and to think of it, and here where the confusion consists in.
CADENA SER: She says that she did the same thing, thing she used to do always when she went back to Laayoune with her Moroccan passport, i.e. : she used to write Western sahara
Mr Khalihenna : If yourself goes to Laayoune from the canary islands, is that what you would put in the boarding card ?definitely not , this resembles a person who goes to Laayoune from the Canary islands, and write down in the boarding card Canary Africa .
CADENA SER: but she used to do always the same thing, didn’t she?
Mr Khalihenna : no , she made a statement before the public prosecutor , Her uncle and the police forces that she refuses the Moroccan nationality, and this is the main mistake she made , now Iam sorry about this situation , Haidar could say that she made a mistake, she would like to win back her Moroccan nationality and she can go back to laayoune this afternoon .
CADENA SER: could you bring her passport here (Canary Islands)?
Mr Khalihenna: if she asks for it as a Moroccan, the Moroccan council in the canary is at the disposal of all Moroccans, of course he will give her her passport, but she has to ask for it as a Moroccan, and apologize to the Moroccans because she put Moroccans in a difficult situation and her involvement in this propaganda, for no truthful reasons. Aminatou Haidar used to fully enjoy her life with dignity and freedom, she travels in so many occasions to the USA, Europe, Australia, Africa, and Asia, she talks freely, and nobody stops her from doing so up to now. Because if she was really human rights activist, she would not be siding the Polisario front. We are sahraouis, and we have nothing to do with the Polisario, why does she claim to side one of the two parties? Human rights has got nothing to do with the Polisario front, they are international rights.
CADENA SER: she says that human rights are violated in the Sahara; do people get arrested for their ideological beliefs?
Khalihenna : no , we do exactly what the European countries do : defending our territorial integrity and our union , what you do with ETA, what did the English with the IRA, what did the Italians with the Red brigades, and French with the Corse terrorists , it means what we do is what any democratic country does .
CADENA SER: but in Europe there are lawful political parties that call for independence without any problem
Mr Khalihenna: when Haidar used to receive foreigners in Laayoune, the police did not arrest her, and did not bother her when she travels, she travelled to Washington to receive human rights prices, she went to Brussels and Madrid and Basques Morocco did not take any measures against the normal and decent practices of human rights. Now what Haidar does has nothing to do with human rights, she is taking a position against the vital interests of the kingdom of Morocco, its territorial integrity and sovereignty, in favour of the Algerians and the Polisario front based in Algeria, this is the mistake Aminatou Haidar is making .
CADENA SER: Are there any violations of human rights in the Sahara?
Mr Khalihenna: No, definitely not, no violation of human rights in the Sahara, nobody is imprisoned for his beliefs, particularly since the creation of the council, i.e: four years ago, everybody is free to believe what he wants, but within the framework of the Moroccan constitution and the law, because Sahara does not live a state of chaos, and it is not a forest, there are laws to be respected
CADENA SER: a person is not allowed to say that he is a supporter of independence, and equally he can say anything else?
Mr Khalihenna: no, a person can say that he supports the referendum, and that he sympathise with Polisario front, but he can not say that Sahara is not Moroccan, because it is a hostile statement. If he wants to keep it for himself that is his problem, but saying it loud, is not allowed by the law and the Moroccan constitution
CADENA SER: do you think you will expatriate more people who do not feel Moroccans?
Mr Khalihenna: those who think like Aminatou Haidar are a minority, nobody in Laayoune, Smara, Dakhla, and in Aouserd is against the unity of Morocco, those who sympathise with the Polisario are a minority, very small, number of people, and I challenge they are not more than few thousands, but they do a lot of propaganda around them, and this is where the whole affair consists in.
CADENA SER: do you think a person like Haidar could harm any other person because of the way she thinks and remaining with her children in Laayoune?
Mr Khalihenna: to say that the Sahara is not Moroccan hurts the entire country, with 35 Million people. Word is more important than the act itself, When Aminatou Haidar says that nobody should be put in the prison, because of his political views, she did not harm anybody, and Morocco did not put her in a jail , this is where the difference lies , and the delicacy of the problem . Human rights: yes
CADENA SER: you say that you arrest persons who do not feel Moroccans, why didn’t you arrest her? Why did you kick her out, and you did not present her to justice?
Mr Khalihenna: This is the first case of its kind which occurred in Morocco, even during the seventies when the extreme left opposed the regime, nobody said that he is not Moroccan, the truth of the matter is that Haidar said to the general prosecutor and to her uncle who is Moroccan that she is not Moroccan, this matter is not in accordance with the Sahraoui traditions. She said front of her uncle that she is not Moroccan, and that she is from Laayoune, whereas she is from tan tan, the way she said that is fallacious.
CADENA SER: why didn’t you arrest her instead of expelling her?
Mr Khalihenna: I do not know I was not at the airport then, may be it is because of the circumstances that occurred at the frontiers;
CADENA SER : what is your view of the fact that Spain has accepted to bring her back?
Mr Khalihenna: the origin of this operation is a calculated political manoeuvre done by Algeria and the Polisario front. It is a will to infringe Morocco, and to hinder the relationship between Morocco and Spain; it is a diplomatic operation based on propaganda against Morocco and the interests of Spain, because if it was not a calculated operation, she would have said let me in and then put me in a prison, iam sorry that she spoiled her role, a role that the region needs being a defender of human rights, but by respecting the Moroccan constitution
CADENA SER: How many years did she spend in prison?
Mr Khalihenna :it was in another period, before the creation of the council in year 2006, after this date she did not go to prison, she was free, with a passport, she travelled all around the world, and she was given awards from everywhere for human rights .
CADENA SER: the position of Morocco will not change. Will it?
Mr Khalihenna :this matter does not depends on us , but on her, if Mrs Aminatou Haidar would like to return to Laayoune, she knows exactly what she has to do : to ask for the Moroccan nationality and apologize to the Moroccan people, who did nothing against her . The hunger strike she is undertaking is a voluntary act; it is a result of her personal decision. she put an end to her regrettable situation now, contact the Moroccan consul, and tells him that she is sorry for what she does, and that I want to go back to my country and my homeland which the kingdom of Morocco .
CADENA SER: can we understand hat there is a threat from Morocco Vis a vis Spain for maintaining Aminatou Haidar’s situation and go back to the immigration …..
Mr Khalihenna: no the relations between Morocco and Spain are not threatened at all, not from the case of Haidar, or from anybody else. They are relations which exceed tests of the kind, they are historical relations, good neighbourhood and common interests, relation with a strategy to manage emergencies, and nobody such as Mrs Haidar or anybody else could threaten these relations.
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