KOE: Welcome to you.
Question: Well, you have carried out diplomatic and media visits in order to explain the Sahara issue, What is the next step in your agenda?
KOE: Yes, we have been working, at the international level, since March, date of the constitution of the Royal Adivisory Council for Saharan Affairs in Laayoune by His Majesty the King, to explain the Council's missions and the autonomy project.
We have achieved a great work in this field. We have finished the diplomatic mission, or at least its first part, as we visited the main countries interested in this issue, as well as the study of the autonomy proposal, during the last session held on the 4th and 5th December. However, there are other issues relating to our missions which concern the promotion of the social, economic and cultural sectors in the region. We have been trying, since April, to deal with many difficult issues.
Question: For instance?
KOE : The amnesty granted by His Majesty, other than the exceptional amnesty, granted to the 46 prisoners who were in the region, in addition to those still on the run.
Question: those who disappeared?
KOE: Those who disappeared or are on the run. They are 270 persons. We agreed with the concerned administrations like the Minsitry of Justice, the Ministry of Interior, the National Security and the Gendarmerie Royale about arranging for the withdrawal procedure concerning this subject. The implementation has started since August. This decision concerns the persons who are involved in falsification, clandestine immigration and other issues. We also arranged another procedure for the persons involved in rubber checks, that is to find an agreement between the concerned parties, so that there would be no proceedings brought against the concerned persons. We also discussed other issues including the professors inherited from the Spanish colonization whose case is still unsolved. It is the case of 30 persons for whom we should find a consensual solution. In addition to the 54 young people from Maroc Telecom for whom we reached a kind of compromise with the Director General of Maroc Telecom allowing those civil servants to quit their positions in counterpart of an indemnity and a salary. We agreed with some of them about this procedure.
Question: When would this agreement be applied?
KOE: The procedure would be applied immediately for anyone who agreed upon it
Question: So, it is optional?
KOE : Yes, it is optional.
Question: What about the former and current workers of Fousboukraa. We heard that there has been a real settlement about this question?
KOE: Before the phosphate, we tackled the problem of the young people, and we reached the conclusion that there are 450 persons having problems, those who were working in public companies which have become afterwards private ones, such as tourism, and sugar companies. All the companies that have been privatized and where workers were made redundant.
We are still working on this issue in order to find a final solution to the problem of these young people.
Concerning the phosphate issue, as you know this is an old problem and many contacts were made in order to find a solution for it. This is one of the issues His Majesty assigned to me. We suggested to the parties, i.e. the OCP and the concerned persons to consensually solve this problem, which is the case now, and the solution is being implemented, it consists in the following three aspects:
A random indemnity of 34 millions cents and a lot equiped by the OCP for each of the 630 concerned workers and the employement of 150 workers among the children of these workers.
Fousboukraa, the concerned company, will set up an office in Laayoune, to be in charge of the administrative and social issues as well as the health and social insurance of the pensioners and their families. This solution concerns the workers who are still alive and the family of those already dead.
Question: Do you consider that the indemnity is fair and did you take into consideration workers' time service?
KOE: It is not a calculated indemnity, it is a kind of an agreed upon random indemnity and it's the only applicable solution.
Question: This session is dealing essentially with housing. What about the project proposed by the government, do you think that it would solve the problem of housing in the Southern Provinces?
KOE: First of all, this is the Council's project and, with His Majesty’s consent, it has been included in its agenda during the first session, in connection with the economic and social issues. You know that we organized the first session in April and it was an institutional session: vice-presidents election, regulations and rules approval, whereas the extraordinary session was held in May and December and it was about the autonomy issue. This is the first session in which we have tackled the economic and social issues and of course housing is the most important social issue. It's an important, entire and global project and not a simple adoption of old existing projects. What has existed till now as projects being implemented have nothing to do with this new project. In addition to what is going on now as parceling out and housing estate. This is an important global project aiming at solving the housing problem by 2007.
We should, thus, find a solution to the problem of land parcels intended for three categories:
First category: Find a definite solution for the camps issue and its consequences such as the Zemmak or the persons who joined them in Laayoune, Es-Smara, Boujdour and Dakhla. Those who are in camps will be given, each, a lot and the State will help them in building. The recensed persons living in camps will receive an amount of money in addition to a planned lot and the technical assistance.
Question: Don't you think that distributing lots to persons with no income will encourage the random building?
KOE: Random building exists in the absence of control. The State will assist them in setting up plans and they would be given a licensed plan in addition to a real estate register allowing them to enjoy their lot. This is, in brief, what Moroccan citizens are looking for, a lot and a plan to enable them to build their own houses, as they complain about the incomplete and small houses built by the State. Lots would be in conformity with people’s habits, and would be between 100m2 and 120m2 over three flours, that is 360 m2. So, in reality, this is a great acquisition.
Question: Is there any specific Sahrawi style in choosing the plans?
KOE: We, Sahrawis, do not have any specific building style as we live in camps. There is a style specific to the Sahrawi climate, as there is a lot of wind and dust comes from everywhere. This is why, there would be specialized architects to be in charge of making plans that would suit the climate of the place.
Question: What are the procedures necessary for achieving this project within a short deadline and its implementation within the time limit?
KOE: This project will start on January, all the adminsitrative arrangements are taken in charge. Committees will be created in each city and Al Omran, the company depending of the Ministry of housing will be in charge of the project implementation as it possesses the technical and administrtative ability to ensure the follow-up of this kind of projects.
Committees will be created in each province headed by the Wali or the Governor, and will be composed of elected representatives and technical departments to accompagny this project during its different stages: the stage of equipment and deals, the stage of setting up lists of beneficiaries and the stage of removal .
All this will start soon and we hope the handing over of property acquisition documents will start by the end of March 2007.
Question: What are the other sectors, which you think, should be given the priority to deal with?
KOE: We said that all camps would be given lots and plans would be made, in addition to the technical assistance and the financial indemnity. Zemak ones will be given equiped lots plus the technical and real estate assistance.
There is another category which has never benefited till now, neither from houses nor from land parcels. For this category, there is a program of 26 thousands parcels covering all the provinces. For instance, Laâyoune contains 10 300 parcels. The persons benefiting from these equipped parcels are those who were, till now, asking for a land parcel: tribes, young people, those who regained Morocco, civil servants in all administrations, widows. That is all of them. For instance, in Laâyoune, the parcels’ surface is enough to satisfy all kinds of needs, at the same time.
We have in the Southern Provinces, 23 thousands lots distributed over all the provinces, and according to the census and the needs there will be nobody left.
So, this way, everybody’s request would be satisfied, as regard to land parcels, at the same time.
For those who want to have economic villas or any other kind of villas or buildings, big parcels will be available with a reasonable price, which means there is no commercial benefit. Al Omran company will be in charge of equipping these parcels without any financial benefit. Concerning Laâyoune, there would be 4 000 villas. Traders or industrials, including the young people who want to set up their own firms and anybody who wants to have a villa either economic or luxurious will be also given these kind of parcels.
Question: WHat are the other priority sectors after housing?
KOE: Many sectors. First of all, this issue of lots which is a psychological and psychiatric problem. When we visited the provinces last May, people were asking for equipped lots, a problem now solved and still waiting for the approval of His Majesty. Then, it would be ready to be quickly implemented, because all the State bodies are ready to do so. Once this problem solves, we will be dealing with other problems such as the sea fishing and employment in the maritime fishing sector. The fundamental fortune of the region is maritime fishing, so, how can we make a kind of adequacy between this fortune and people's objection to work in this field.Young people should become interested in sea and we will see how we can tackle this subject.
There are other issues in relation with social and economic aspects, such as those already tackled: housing and people working in OCP. We will, also, in next sessions, try to deal with the same financial and technical accuracy to right wrongs whether those reporting to social fairness and to categories who have suffered from injustice or who have not won their case. We will deal with all these problems and find solutions for them.
Question: You inaugurated a website or many websites, which are, obviously, important ones, what is the reason behind setting them up?
KOE: Internet has become the most used media mean in the world, as you can communicate with anybody all over the world. By creating these websites, we want to transmit our message to everybody who is interested in the history of our Sahara and the Sahara conflict. We would like to give them an idea about its people, cities, life there and the development it has gone through. We would like this website to be a link between the region's people and their families living in Tindouf camps. We would like those living in Es- Smara camp in Tindouf to see the city of Es-Smara, have a look around it and see its institutions and how the real Es-Smara people are living there. The same applies to Laayoune, Dakhla and Ouserd camps as well as for Sahrawis residing in Spain and Mauritania. This is a kind of reconciliating link, not intended for attacks or conflicts, but rather for building a future autonomy on a fraternal basis while being proud of the Sahrawi personality and competences. It would be available in four languages: Arabic, French, Spanish and English, through which we will communicate the truth, and nothing but the truth existing in field, the political truth.
Question: Last point, what is the next step the Council would be taking to explain the meaning of autonomy?
KOE: As you already know, the Council has finished the preparation of the autonomy project and we have presented it to His Majesty. Once it is approved by His Majesty, it will be an official project. Then, we will start the second stage, that is presenting this project to the international society.
Interviewer: Thank you, Mr. Khalihenna Ould Errachid
KOE: Thank you