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African Union - IDIA

African Union - IDIA

PhilMUN 2007 9

PhilMUN 2007 9 expressing much distrust for him politically. Indeed, the Saharawis did this, to the chagrin of the Moroccan central government. 29 Moroccan political leaders and the sultan took this religious allegiance as a simultaneous pledge of territory. This mutual misunderstanding is at the core of the Saharawi-Morocco conflict. Morocco now seeks to retain the Western Sahara because of deep religious tradition. In 1975, the Kingdom of Morocco petitioned the United Nations General Assembly to pass a resolution that would ask the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to advise on two questions. The ICJ was to determine if the Western Sahara was autonomous (terra nullious) when Spain colonized the area, and if so, if there were there any legal ties between Morocco and Mauritania. 30 According to Morocco’s logic, if the ICJ were to confirm that Western Sahara was indeed a part of the Berber empire at one time, then Morocco would be justified in retaining the area. The ICJ ruling was not advantageous to the Moroccan cause: The Court’s conclusion is that the materials and information presented to it do not establish any tie of territorial sovereignty between the territory of Western Sahara and the Kingdom of Morocco or the Mauritanian entity. Thus the Court has not found legal ties of such nature as might affect the application of resolution 1514 (XV) in the decolonization of Western Sahara, and, in particular, of the principle of self-determination through the free and genuine expression of the will of the peoples in the territory. 31 With this ruling, the ICJ confirmed the right to self-determination of the Saharawi people. The Spanish referendum, in this way, was approved in the international arena. The Referendum, MINURSO, and the Baker Plan A referendum vote was agreed upon by Morocco and the Saharawi, enabling the inhabitants of the Western Sahara to choose their political future by way of the ballot. Unfortunately, neither side seems to be able to agree on the specifics of the referendum, such as who is eligible to vote in this highly controversial election. Moreover, each side accuses the other of trying to load the ballot box. 32 Part of the Polisario mistrust stems from recollection of the Green March. To them, the Green March and other such 29 30 31 32 Ibid 20. Ruddy 52. Ibid 52. “Triumph For Procrastination.” 52.

PhilMUN 2007 10 campaigns are examples of the creation of a false ratio of Moroccans to indigenous Saharawis, potentially tipping the referendum unnaturally and unfairly in Morocco’s favor. Morocco has a similar claim against the Saharawis, accusing them of identifying random desert people as Saharawi to inflate their numbers, arguing that Saharawi claims of one hundred-forty thousand members are unreasonable and false. 33 Also at issue are the 65,000 people who identify as Saharawis living in Morocco proper. 34 Only two thousand of these people currently qualify as eligible voters, and Morocco is appealing the rest. 35 The United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO) was created as an interim administration and peacekeeping force in response to these differences. 36 Publicly proposed by then-U.N. Secretary-General Javier Perez de Cuellar in June 1990, MINURSO was to be responsible for monitoring the cease-fire between Morocco and the Polisario Front, supervising the withdrawal and confinement of Moroccan troops, identifying voters, overseeing the return of Saharawi refugees, conducting the eventual referendum, and announcing the results of the vote. Squabbles over Minurso’s size, the number of Moroccan troops to be recalled, and other specifics delayed its inception until finally a Security Council resolution on the 27 June 1990 requested a detailed report on the practicalities and cost of the mission. The report came out on 19 April 1991 and shortly thereafter a Security Council resolution established MINURSO. The body consists of three units: civilian, military, and security. The civilian unit is responsible for legal, legislative and administrative matters during the interim before the referendum. The military unit provides lightly armed forces for peacekeeping purposes. Lastly, the security unit is a civil police force responsible for law and order in the area, including the supervision of Moroccan police forces. 37 33 Ibid 52. 34 Ruddy 52. 35 Ibid. 36 “The Mouvement de Resistance ‘Les Hommes Bleus’ (MOREHOB).” 452. 37 Ibid.

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