Jabbar Abdel Ghani: Mr. President, welcome to this exclusive meeting with Al Oula Channel
Mr. President, the first regular session for the month of April of the Royal Consultative Council for Saharan Affairs has just been finished; the session is being held in a very positive international conditions for the issue of the Sahara. The latest Security Council resolution called for the need to negotiate objectively and realistically. This is almost what Morocco has been calling for since the start of negotiations in Manhasset, your comment on this decision?
Khalihenna Ould Errachid: First, this decision could be regarded as a diplomatic and historic for the Kingdom of Morocco because it came after the UN decided in 2007 to change the procedure approaches for this file. This decision is the outcome of what took place in the year 2007, direct negotiations, chaired by Personal Envoy of the Secretary-General; General Delegate’s tours in the region and consultations with the States directly concerned and interested States. Therefore, this is the outcome of the change that took place thanks to the Moroccan initiative which changed the concept of the international community regarding the Sahara conflict. Morocco has become a serious and credible party with firm desire in good faith to reach a solution. this is the reason why the Security Council, the Secretary-General said that the issue should be resolved through realism first, i.e. mean not to ask what is impossible, and have the spirit of compromise.
In addition, this decision came when the Personal Envoy talked about issues aloud, these issues were raised secretly.
Jabbar Abdel Ghani: Concerning this subject, Mr. President, we see that the position of the United States of America has become more visible by supporting the Moroccan proposal to grant autonomy to the Sahara. It also advocated that negotiations should be focus on autonomy.
Khalihenna Ould Errachid: This is right. But we should stop for a while Walsum’s declaration. He said that independence is not realistic and Polisario has to give up this option. This is a historic position never mentioned before by any personal envoy of the Secretary-General, or any former secretary-general. Accordingly, there are now basic keys for a solution. Polisario has to give up the demand for secession. This has now become the position of the Personal Envoy of the Secretary-General. Second, the clear statement is in the Security Council and the positive position of the United States of America saying expressly that the only solution should be autonomy under Moroccan sovereignty. The same thing for France, UK, and international community. The international community is tired of the issue of the Sahara. Morocco has provided the international community with a historic opportunity to resolve this issue by providing a serious and viable solution respecting the philosophy of reconciliation adopted by the United Nations. This initiative is based primarily on the search for a compromise to allow all parties become reconciled and gathered around a political solution. We believe that these statements, attitudes, and that UN resolution mean a new attitude in the international community, strengthen the Moroccan position, and give it considerable support.
Jabbar Abdel Ghani: At the end of the session you have issued a communiqué in which you asked the other party to be more flexible and accept the new conditions that have emerged on the international scene with respect to the issue of the Sahara. There is also a call for lifting of the siege on the population of Tindouf.
Khalihenna Ould Errachid: Yes, this statement comes in the context of the appeal that we announced in Smara in the previous session, and which was met with positive echoes, at the time of a collective return to the homeland during Gjijimat Congress. We believe that the Council’s appeals will be taken seriously by our brothers in Polisario Front. We reaffirm that the Moroccan project is based on reconciliation and does not want to insult the members of Polisario. It aims at turning a new page of reconciliation brotherhood and national unity. We believe that this appeal will push our brothers to be realistic and flexible and listen to the group. A group of Saharans, from inside the country and from brotherly countries were asking Polisario for reconciliation. Today it is the entire international community, including the UN Secretary-General and his Personal Envoy, United States of America, France and the Security Council, which are calling upon Polisario to be realistic and take advantage. We hope that in the next session the appeal will be heard by our brothers, and that the next session will have positive results.
Jabbar Abdel Ghani: Thank you, Mr. Khalihenna Ould Errachid, President of the Royal Advisory Council for Saharan Affairs for being with us.
Khalihenna Ould Errachid: You are welcome.