Khalihenna: Morocco is preparing for mass return of Tindouf detainees
Morocco is preparing the necessary conditions for the return to their homeland of Moroccan-Sahara natives currently held against their will in the Polisario-run Tindouf Camps (South western Algeria), announced, here Monday, the head of the Royal Advisory Council for Saharan Affairs (CORCAS).
Speaking at a press conference on the sidelines of the CORCAS' 2007 second regular session, Khalihenna Ould Errachid stressed that several indicators show the lack of perspective of the Algerian-backed separatists.
Mr. Ould Errachid also reacted to the Polisario's threat to return to armed struggle, deeming it a "proof of this movement's collapse."
The Polisario, which is holding its congress in the buffer zone of Tifariti, has included in its agenda the return to armed struggle, a fact that Morocco has condemned as well as the venue of this so-called congress which, according to Rabat, constitutes a violation of the 1991 UN-brokered ceasefire.
Earlier during the meeting, the leader of the CORCAS - made up of Sahrawi dignitaries from different tribes-called on the "Polisario" leadership to "reconsider its moves and understand that a flawed referendum, based on an erroneous identification process, is as unworkable as separating the Sahara from Morocco."
He made it clear that "it is useless to perpetuate this conflict" which erupted in 1976, a year after Spain ceded the Sahara to Morocco by virtue of the Madrid Accords. The separatists, backed by Morocco’s eastern neighbor, Algeria, have ever since seeking independence of this Southern part of the kingdom.
He also urged the Polisario to seize the opportunities offered to them to exit the deadlock, notably by accepting Morocco's autonomy project for the region.
"We consider that the (UN Security Council) Resolution 1754 constitutes a new beginning that would favor the settlement, in the shortest possible time, of the Moroccan Sahara issue provided that the other parties show goodwill," he added.
Morocco and the Polisario are expected to hold a third round of UN-led talks in Manhasset, New York January 7-9. The two previous rounds were held in June and August and were attended by Algeria and Mauritania as observers.
Held under the theme "Autonomy as a Final Solution to Achieve Reconciliation and Dignified Return to the Homeland," the CORCAS' session is addressing several development-related issues concerning the Southern provinces such as transport network, infrastructure and communications.
The opening session was attended by Interior minister, Chakib Benmoussa, Equipment and Transport minister, Karim Ghellab, and secretaries of State for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, Ahmed Lakhrif and Latifa Akharbach.
Set up in March 2006, the CORCAS is a body dedicated to the economic and social development of the Southern Provinces and the safeguard of the cultural identity of the Sahara region.