Introduction of the speaker, Mrs Fatiha Lamine: Mr. Khalihenna Ould Errachid, President of the Royal Advisory Council for Saharan Affairs, welcome to this interview with Laâyoune Regional Channel.
K.O.E. : Thank you.
Speaker: First of all, Mr. President, do you consider the United Nations’ Resolution N0. 1813 a victory for the Moroccan position?
K.O.E.: Sure, this United Nations’ Resolution can be considered a great historical success for the Moroccan Kingdom, at the diplomatic level, and with no showing off, Morocco has reached a historical turning point concerning this conflict, in the Security Council.
The Resolution 1813 addresses all the parties to be realistic and let the compromise spirit prevail to solve the conflict. It also recognizes the Moroccan project to be serious, credible and giving the Sahara population enough powers which are considered an achievement of self-determination.
The powers granted by the Moroccan project are at the level of self-determination. The proposal is granting Sahrawis the main powers in the autonomy, from the executive, legislative and judicial aspects as well as those pertaining to financial, security and economic institutions.
Thus, we have to consider this Resolution a result of the new approach and of the experience of the International Community.
The Resolution 1754 has set up a new approach to society by abandoning all the ancient plans. The Security Council has abandoned all the previous plans, the referendum, identity identification, the peace plan, Baker plan, that is all that existed in the past, while setting up a new procedure based on the Moroccan project because it is the one that has given rise to the international community’s reaction, as it is based on good intentions and direct negotiations to achieve a solution.
This 1813 Resolution asks the parties to be, first of all, realistic within a compromise spirit, secondly, to go into deep negotiations to reach a political solution as soon as possible, determining of course the deadline for that, as it extends the MINURSO mission for another year, and the Security Council has never done that before.
The Security Council feels the positive aspect and notices the problems posed which make things move from stagnation to something positive based on the project presented by Morocco, with good intentions, and a confirmed political and diplomatic will to solve this conflict which has lasted for a long time. Besides, many major Member States of the Security Council, especially those countries which are considered, according to international norms to be powerful, such as the United States of America which has said in clear words that the unique possible solution is autonomy within the Moroccan sovereignty.
So, this is a recognition from the United States of the Moroccan sovereignty, a recognition that autonomy is an excellent solution, a recognition that the American position is not a momentary position but rather a position of the United Nations.
The same thing happened with France, Great Britain, and of course we can say the same for China, Russia and other countries which have the same position concerning the Sahara conflict.
So, yes ! We think and consider that the 1813 Resolution prepares for a historical turning point in the Sahara conflict, and opens the door for a new era. The fifth round of negotiations would be based on the spirit of this Resolution and its content and should respond to the exigencies of this Resolution, that is to be more realistic within a spirit of compromise. What does reconciliation and realism mean in the United Nations’ dictionary?
The citizens should know the meaning of realism. The Polisario asks for things that can not be achieved: the referendum seems to be impossible for objective reasons, the dispersal of tribes among different countries, a doubtful colonial inheritance, the impossibility to have an electoral roll which would satisfy all the concerned parties, so it is a conflict matter, a matter upon which the parties can never agree. If this does not happen, there can never be a referendum, so, the UNO has reached the conclusion that there should be more realism and cease to ask for things that can not be achieved and deal with things as they are, and choose the path leading to a solution of compromise. This means that all the parties, including Morocco, should make concessions concerning all that can be achieved. Morocco has made concessions when it has presented the autonomy, and this in itself is a historical step forward which the enemy never suspects Morocco able to do. But Morocco has been armed with courage, a political and diplomatic courage to present the autonomy project. For the Polisario, it is still cloistered in old concepts which are not up to date. This is why the Council asked it to make concessions, to go beyond the impossible in order to reach a solution of happy medium which is the autonomy project presented by Morocco. It is evident that this project can be discussed by the Polisario.
The USA has said if the autonomy project presented by Morocco does not please to the Polisario, in its context, the latter has the right to present another project reflecting its way of conceiving autonomy, but only autonomy.
All these positive things resulting from this new Resolution are, I repeat again, achievements for Morocco and the right it has on the Sahara. It is also an achievement for the region as it would push the parties towards a compromise, and this is a new policy of the Security Council which aims at putting together the concerned parties’ points of view to reach a possible solution. This is why it put more emphasis on the objective it wants to reach, which is autonomy.
Yes, in all modesty, I think so, and it is evident that Algeria and the Polisario try to disguise this success by talking about illogical matters. Everybody should know that Algeria and the Polisario have nothing more to say.
Speaker: Yes, Mr. President, you have just said, a little time ago, that the UNO has asked, more than once, the concerned parties to find a realistic and negotiated solution for the Sahara conflict, don’t you think that the declarations of the Personal Envoy of the UNO Secretary General, Mr. Peter Van Walsum, is a solution that would put an end to this conflict, if we can say, between quotes that the UNO has had enough of this conflict and that it is keen to find a solution, and maybe the autonomy proposed by Morocco is the solution to this problem?
K.O.E.: No, the UNO can not be fed up, but the UNO has reached a solution through its experience, and as the proverb says: “ask advice from the person who has gone through the experience not from the doctor”.
Mr. Van Walsum is an old man, which means that he has a great experience in the diplomatic field, first of all, in his country and then in the Netherlands, and also at the UNO. He has been in charge of important international missions and has acquired an experience concerning the Sahara conflict, as he has been nominated, since 2005, the Personal Envoy of the Secretary General. He has visited the region thrice, he has visited Morocco, Algeria, Tindouf and Mauritania, thrice and presided the four rounds of negotiations.
So, the result he has reached comes from an experience, that of an aged man, and of a person who has an experience in the international field, and mainly a person who knows very well the Sahara question, who has heard the Polisario, Morocco, Algeria and Mauritania. He has heard all of us during negotiations and he has come to the conclusion that this problem can not be solved unless the Polisario makes concessions concerning his request for separation. He has frankly said that the resolution of the Sahara conflict can not be independence as it is an unrealistic solution. All that is not realistic is impossible to achieve because independence is achieved through the referendum, and the referendum is too complicated and can never take place. Consequently, independence is an objective that can not be accomplished. So, asking for the impossible would lead us nowhere.
Secondly, he does not stop at separation which is not realistic but goes further saying that the Polisario should make concessions and abandon the idea of separation to reach a solution, what does this mean?
If there is no request for separation and independence, this means that the solution is a solution of happy medium, where there is no winner or loser, and this is the position which is adopted, today, by the UNO, which corresponds totally to the Moroccan initiative and to autonomy.
Autonomy is the solution of happy medium, a solution which satisfies the Sahrawis since it responds to all their requests. And what are the requests of Sahrawis? The Sahrawis consider themselves a minority and want to have the priority in the management of autonomy and the initiative guarantees that for them and for ever. The Sahrawis will always have the priority in the government, the parliament and all the other institutions. The Sahrawis ask for self-management, and the autonomy guarantees that for them, as it guarantees a regional government, a parliament, courts, and institutions pertaining to the security and economic fields.
I am certain, and this what I have told them since the beginning, that the Sahrawis, in general, are for autonomy as they are fed up with sufferance, separation and false promises. The Polisario has, since its last summit, deceived all the Sahrawis who adhere to its movement.
In its last summit, the Polisario has promised independence to its members, saying that it would come, but the answer comes in the declaration of Mr. Walsum when he said that independence is not possible. The Polisario say to them that they have almost reached the solution but this solution it is talking about can not take place.
So, I think that we are going through an important moment and we are facing some challenges but not for Morocco as for Morocco, the challenge existed before 2006, and it has undertaken the challenge by preparing a program and developing a project which it has presented to the international community. A project which it wants to negotiate and apply with good intentions. It has implied people in the region in the process of this project, which shows its good intentions and historical will, under the command of His Majesty the King Mohammed VI, and with the support of the entire Moroccan nation, to go out of this crisis.
Now, it is the other party which is facing difficult challenges, would it continue deceiving the hopes of our brothers or would it reconsider its cards in a positive manner, this is the big question we are asking our brothers. There are also some other positive positions summed up in the will of the 5 members of the Maghreb Arab willing to revive this entity so promising and so expected by Europe and the United States, for cooperation reasons. We hope that the Tangiers meeting which has been held, with the participation of the five countries, and with an important participation of Algeria, would give a new lease of life to go forward towards reconciliation, and to seize the present opportunity which preserves the dignity, honour and sovereignty of each one, to reach a solution that would satisfy all the parties: Morocco as regard to its sovereignty and territorial integrity, satisfies us, all of us, as Sahrawis, not only the Polisario, but all the Sahrawis, satisfies Algeria which has supported the other party and satisfies the Maghreb Arab countries.
Speaker: So, the first ordinary session of the Royal Advisory Council for Saharan Affairs, for this years, has fixed two main thrusts among which the health sector and its development in the south provinces, what can you tell us about this?
K.O.E. : The Council plays a role in the political and diplomatic field, since the beginning, that is since March 2006. It has participated to the success of the Moroccan initiative from a diplomatic and political point of view, to the reconciliation policy, worked on human rights, the resolution of inherited problems, that is, it has made up for the shortcomings existing in the handling of certain issues. Besides all this, the Council devotes all its sessions to particular themes of development. Thus, we have discussed three main development themes, the first one concerns housing, and the decisions taken by the Council in December 2006, in this field, are being implemented. This project would resolve the problems of the inhabitants of Znak camps and all those that are asking for an accommodation in the cities and which have till now not get anything. Today, there are 68 000 equipped parcels in all the provinces without exception.
Secondly, we have discussed the question of fishing, at all levels, but particularly, the program intended for the youth employment and orientation towards the fishing activity.
In the last session which has taken place in Smara, we have tackled the question in relation with air and road transport, and we have made a program for all the provinces.
For health that concerns directly the everyday life of the citizens, this program which has been established during this session, is a program that aims at enhancing the level of health in the region. The State has achieved many projects in the region, some hospitals, medical centres, free health centres, and has endowed them with high level specialized staff. But the urban level, the standard of living and the economic and social development level reached in the three regions, require another level of health conditions, and it is on this basis, that we have made a program convention with the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Interior, the local collectivities, the Agency for Development, the National Initiative for Human Development, with a budget of 22 billions centimes that is 220 millions dirhams, besides a budget of 5 billions centimes, that is 50 millions dirhams. This program is presently being implemented by the Ministry of Health, with a total budget of 27 billions centimes. Why this budget allocation?
We have taken into consideration in this program the geographical position of the region and its being far and the need for a self-sufficiency regarding medical care, and we have prepared a program with the concerned Ministry, aiming at satisfying the local needs, wherever there is deficiency as it is the case for Zak, Tarfaya, Bir Kandouz and Awserd.
Concerning hospitals in the three regions, there is, for instance in Goulmim, a local hospital which will become a regional one containing all the specialities, and when we talk of specialities, we also talk of specialist doctors in surgery, including orthopaedic surgery, child surgery, and concerning cardiology, ophthalmology, otorhinolaryngology as well as basic equipments. Goulmim which medical equipments did not go beyond some modest equipments, will have a hospital that would satisfy all the needs of the region, and in three years, the population would not have to go to Rabat, or Casablanca or Marrakech or Agadir. For Tan Tan, the hospital would be renovated and its equipment renewed, the same thing would happen in Boujdour, with the provincial hospital of Dakhla which would be enhanced to the level of a regional hospital as it is the case for the Goulmim hospital.
For Laâyoune, its hospital would become a reference hospital complex as it is the case for Avicenne hospital in Rabat, with different specialties and emergency services of the same level. Scanners would be available there, such as those for the MRI, which is more developed than a scanner and needs high level staff to manipulate it.
It concerns also the building, with the approval of Lalla Salma Association Against Cancer, the oncology hospital in Laâyoune to satisfy the needs of the region in order to achieve a self-sufficiency in medical services. There are also some medical centres which would be built in certain agglomerations, for childbirth, and other medical care, and of course, we will create in Laâyoune a SAMU (medical emergency service) which would be mobile as it is presently the case in Casablanca.
Besides, each one of the eight provinces covered by the CORCAS prerogatives, will have 4x4 cars, within the rural health program of the Health Ministry. These cars will monthly take doctors to the rural areas to provide medical care to people living in tents, in small villages, which means 12 times per year.
Eight 4x4 cars will be put at the disposal of each province, Guelmim, Tan Tan, Assa Zag, Smara, Laâyoune, Boujdour, Dakhla, Awserd. Moreover, this program contains three mobile medical units: Guelmim, Laâyoune, Dakhla. Those are equipped units with all that is needed to move to the communes where there are no hospitals.
So, this program is a program that prepares the region for autonomy as it would offer the region three main medical centres providing medical care to citizens. For more important treatments, they are available in Rabat and Casablanca, in teaching hospitals. This program would be implemented, concerning equipments and structures, and would be accompanied by the Health Ministry which would provide the necessary staff in all specialties.
In Laâyoune, there would be also a medical unit specialized in burns, a unit which does not exist in all the south. It would be a high level unit where all those who get burnt, whatever the degree of the burn, can receive the necessary medical treatment.
If we add this program to the other ones, the region would be at a high medical level. Adding to this, of course, the implementation of the government policy in the field of social security cover for those who work but also for those who have no revenues in order to allow them to go to medical centres which would receive them and take charge of their medical treatment.
During this session, the Council has resolved a crucial problem which is that of instructors inherited from the colonial period. We have agreed with the concerned administrations so that they can receive their compensation, and thus ended this problem and we will tackle the others.
Speaker: Mr. Khalihenna Ould Errachid, President of the Royal Advisory Council for Saharan Affairs, thank you for having been with us in this interview, with Laâyoune Regional Channel.
K.O.E. : Thank you.
Source : Corcas
- News concerning the Western Sahara issue / Corcas -