Thursday, May 10, 2007

Statement of Congressman Joe Pitts

Western Sahara Briefing
Current Developments and Challenges to Self-Determination
Statement by
Congressman Joseph Pitts
May 09, 2007

"Mr. Chairman, thank you for holding today's briefing on Western Sahara, Current Developments and Challenges to Self-determination. It is vital for all parties involved, particularly the Sahrawi refugees, that this conflict be resolved in fair and just way.

I remain concerned that the conflict between these two parties, if left unresolved, has the potential to disrupt peace and stability in the Mahgreb region, thus threatening the people and interests of countries in the region, of the continent of Africa, and of the U.S.

This conflict is an issue of the 21st century that must be addressed urgently and fairly to the benefit all peoples of the region. The peaceful resolution of this conflict will provide an important signal to the North African and the Broader Middle East region that there are successful alternatives to violence in the pursuit of national aspirations.

I strongly believe that the only resolution to the conflict that will last is one that includes a free, fair, and transparent referendum for self-determination - any other solution may not have the legitimacy in the eyes of the people that is needed for long term stability.

It is important that the parties to the conflict work together to implement a solution sooner rather than later, particularly with the threats our world faces today.

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