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African Union - IDIA

African Union - IDIA

PhilMUN 2007 13 only

PhilMUN 2007 13 only eight new violations of the agreement by the Royal Moroccan Army and four new violations by the military forces of the Polisario, reflecting a decrease of almost 50 per cent compared to the previous reporting period. The violations included continued incursions by both sides into the buffer strip by armed elements, construction of new physical structures, and movement of weapons and military units without prior notification of or approval by MINURSO. The African Union is one of the few organizations that continues to recognize the Saharawi Republic. The body has been providing humanitarian assistance to the Saharawi people to alleviate the difficulties they face as they await a referendum on their political future. With, military tensions easing, the atmosphere is conducive to a constructive solution. The mission of the African Union remains to develop an effective, feasible answer to the problems plaguing Western Sahara in order to create a lasting, meaningful peace. Policy Positions Saharawi Republic The Saharawi Republic maintains that the establishment of an independent Saharawi state through a just and regular self-determination referendum is the “best way for the consecration of security, peace, and stability in the region because this is the democratic solution conforming to the UN Charter.” 46 The Saharawi people maintain that they have rightfully been granted their independence through passage of the Security Resolution more than three decades ago. The Saharawi Minister for Occupied Territories and Communities, Mr. El Khalil Sid M’hamed, argues against Moroccan claims that Saharawan independence is a threat to stability in the region. The Minister highlights that it was Morocco’s colonial presence in Western Sahara, against the will of the Saharawi and against the stated desires of the international community, that caused 46 “The President of the African Union’s Committee for Refugees Visits the Saharawi Camps.” 11 November 2006. Sahara Press Service. http://www.spsrasd.info/sps-e081106.html

PhilMUN 2007 14 tension in Morocco, Maghreb, and North Africa. 47 While the Saharawans are not opposed to bilateral negotiations with the Moroccan government, they are hesitant to engage in discussions before clear objectives are established. The Saharawans hope to engage in meaningful talks with Morocco once that government sets forth its highly anticipated plan to resolve the issue of Saharawi independence. Morocco Morocco’s refusal to join the African Union because of the status of Western Sahara has caused tension with some of its closer allies. Since early 2006, the Security Council has been waiting on a Moroccan plan to give extended autonomy to the Saharawans, but the political viability of the plan remains to be seen. Morocco clearly wants to retain sovereignty while granting real autonomy to a population that seeks complete independence. Having fought thirty years of separatist wars, the Sahrawis will not settle for limited freedom as a region of Morocco. Morocco blocked both Baker Plans, not allowing any solution that could give the Saharawi people real independence. Morocco is also blocking voting on the referendum, arguing that refugees from neighboring countries, especially those from Morocco, cannot be counted as residents of the Saharawi region and therefore should be ineligible vote. The only solution that Morocco is willing to consider is for the parties to agree on a “transfer of competences to the local populations … within the framework of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Kingdom.” Keeping this in mind, Morocco is ready to submit its autonomy plan for consideration. Morocco also supports the approach of Peter Van Walsum, the United Nations secretary-general’s personal envoy to Western Sahara. Although direct negotiations stalled in early 2006, the Moroccan government is willing to participate in direct negotiations with the Saharawans, provided that Algeria be present as well. 48 47 Ibid 48 “Report of the Secretary General on the Situation Concerning Western Sahara.” United Nations Security Council. http://daccessdds.un.org/doc/UNDOC/GEN/N06/568/50/PDF/N0656850.pdf?OpenElement

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