Monday, April 23, 2007

Messahel on Ban Ki-moon report: France and USA stands fall outside international legitimacy

Messahel on Ban Ki-moon reportFrance and USA stands fall outside international legitimacy
The minister in charge of African and Maghreban affairs Mr. Abdelkader Messahel criticized France and USA stands as regards their impartiality in Morocco and Western Sahara conflict. He called them to play their role as "world peace guarantor". In his interview with El Khabar, he thoroughly spoke about his anticipations on UN Security Council next weak vote on Ban Ki-moon report, on the Sahrawi peace plan and Moroccan eschewal to organize the self determination referendum

El Khabar: how do you assess the UN Secretary General report on Western Sahara?

Messahel: I think that recommendation 47 on negotiations between conflict parties and self-determination principle in the Sahrawi territories is a new start for a just and genuine solution of the issue, this is not only Algeria's stand but the UN one. The report made three important proposals: first, direct negotiations between Morocco and Polisario front. Second, a fair and mutually acceptable solution, and finally negotiations should pave the way for self-determination referendum and calls Algeria and Mauritania to be parties of negotiations as a follow-up of 1996 negotiations framework under the supervision of James Baker. The report highlights Algeria role in the came back of 160 thousand refugees in Tindouf refugee camps.The report annoyed some superpowers who are to have a heavy weight in April 27th vote. The striking after the issuance of the report is that France and USA sided with Morocco. Algeria recalls them that they are among peace keeping states, and it is so strange that their respective official's statements fall outside the international legitimacy. On this ground, we urge them to play fully their role to settle peace in the world, and endeavour to respect the UN Charter as permanent states in the Security Council which repeatedly recalled the need to abide by self-determination principle of the Western Sahara. In our opinion, it is a decolonisation process and not an autonomy issue as alleged by Moroccans. It is scheduled in the UN agenda as a decolonisation issue. As for the final situation of the Sahrawi territories, it should be determined on the basis of the self-determination referendum.

El Khabar: What about the Polisario peace plan in the Western Sahara?

Messahel: Sahrawi have the right to lay down solutions to their problems in their capacity of first party in the conflict. The noticeable is that Sahrawi are ready to accept the referendum results, this is an important indicator that mirrors their commitment to accept to play the game according to the rules whatever the results of the referendum may be. Moreover, they give Morocco good neighbouring relations guarantees, if referendum results confirm the independence.

El Khabar: Moroccans avoid the referendum affirming that it is "old-fashioned" and inapplicable, why Rabat dreads the endowment of Sahrawi with the self-determination right?

Messahel: the Sahrawi issue settlement is based on James Baker plan insisting on Sahrawi sovereignty to decide what fate fits them, but Morocco can advocate and promote its interest without imposing any plan on the Sahrawi party. In other terms, Morocco can advocate autonomy choice in self-determination referendum awareness raising campaign, if he can convince Sahrawi people; it would be another kettle of fish. On our side, since Polisario and Morocco signed the cease fire agreement in 1991, we called for the activation of the self determination referendum, we further cal the UN and Security Council and all the concerned parties including France to respect Ban Ki-moon report. At the same time, we cannot decide instead of Sahrawi, they know very well their interests.

El Khabar: the German presidency of the EU endorsed a settlement based on UN documents; don't you think that it construes a European will to lift the French embargo on the Western Sahara?

Messahel: the EU's stand is characterised by responsibility as it leaves the settlement to the international legitimacy, this may contribute to opinion converge about direct negotiations under the supervision of the UN.

El Khabar: how do you expect the UN Security Council's recommendation on Ban Ki-moon report?

Messahel: on April 20th a preliminary debate has been launched between Security Council members. According to close sources, a strong positive reaction has been noticed among all the members.

El Khabar: April 27th, you will be attracted by the UN Security Council vote, it coincides with the launch of May 17th legislative elections in which you are candidate. Which event will attract your attention the most?

Messahel: the Sahrawi dossier is passing through a determinative conjuncture, it is very important for Algeria as a neighbour to the conflicting parties, this imposes on us the follow-up of the issue and all peace and stability issues in the region, as an Algerian citizen, this attracts my attention, but doesn't mean that I neglect my obligations as a candidate standing for legislative elections and join my colleagues to vote for Ban Ki-moon report

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