The National Secretariat presents its moral report to POLISARIO Fronts’ 12 congress in Tifariti
POLISARIO’s National Secretariat, the highest elected political body of the Front, presented its moral report to the opening session of the organisation’s 12 congress, which opened its work on Friday in the region of Tifariti, in the liberated territories of Western Sahara.
Here is the complete text of the document:
Report of the National Secretariat to the 12th Congress of the Frente Polisario
Tifariti, RASD, December, from 14th to 18th 2007
Combatants of the Sahrawi People’s Liberation Army,
Today we hold the 12th Congress of the Frente POLISARIO, the Congress of Martyr Messaud Mbarek Ahmed Lahsen (Gahgah) under the motto “Total Struggle to Impose Sovereignty and Full Independence” in the liberated locality of Tifariti. We are standing on a part of our beloved homeland that has been watered by the blood of our martyrs and adorned by the glories of the Sahrawi People’s Liberation Army. We are also close to the occupied parts of our country, and our hearts and thoughts are with the heroes of the peaceful resistance and the Independence Uprising.
First, we would like to express our many thanks and appreciation to all brothers and friends who have come from all over the world after having endured long journeys in order to take part with us in this historic event and to convey a noble message of friendship and solidarity. We would like to express to them and to their countries, governments, political parties, parliaments, organisations and associations, our profound gratitude and most sincere thanks for their noble positions and tireless efforts to support our just cause. We would also like to wish them a pleasant stay amongst the Sahrawi people and on the land of the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic.
Our Congress is taking place under changing regional and international circumstances that have had a major impact on the course of events internationally.
On the international level, the world is still coming to terms with the repercussions of the end of the Cold War coupled with the increasing impact of the information and technological revolution that has given rise to the ongoing processes of political, economic and social globalisation. In this context, new forms of relations, concepts and approaches are emerging in line with the interests of the dominating single power of which position is being reinforced by practical policies based on the use of military force to pursue its own interests, whilst propagating war on terror and promotion of “democracy” as key facets of its policy.
This situation has led to the emergence of other powers seeking to restore the multi-polar paradigm as a guarantee of balance in global policy and economy. In this context, the European Union has taken significant steps to strengthen its position internationally and Russia has intensified its efforts to affirm its power, whilst China, for its part, has also been doubling its efforts to be part of the most industrialised nations. Throughout the world, calls for establishing more political, economic, regional and continental blocks are on the rise.
However, the world of today is still threatened by the exacerbation of protracted conflicts and profound political and economic crises. The conflicts taking place in the Middle East, Iraq, Afghanistan, Darfur, Somalia and the dispute over Iran’s nuclear capability are some main examples to cite in this respect.
In our region, Algeria still occupies a significant position regionally in view of its great political, economic, and geographical potential. The stability and progress achieved at all levels in the course of the past years has enabled Algeria to become an active strategic and key actor and partner to reckon with in North Africa. On the international level, Algeria has maintained its principled positions vis-à-vis the issues of decolonisation worldwide, as well as its staunch defence of international legality and the exercise by the Sahrawi people of their inalienable right to self-determination and independence.
For its part, Mauritania is going through a transitional period in which significant political, social and economic reforms are taking place with a view to consolidating the Mauritanian modern state. This will undoubtedly strengthen its role, as a neighbouring country to Western Sahara, in the settlement of the conflict based on the respect for the dictates of international legality and the borders inherited from the colonial era.
A major development in the region is the restoration of Libya’s standing on the international arena following years of blockade. As a result, Libya has been able to establish diplomatic and economic relations with many countries and regional groupings, and is now playing a leading role in searching for solutions to some of the problems facing Africa.
In the Kingdom of Morocco, people are still paying a heavy price for the expansionist war waged by the regime against the Sahrawi people and for its colonial presence in Western Sahara, which costs millions of US Dollars per day. The Moroccan economy still depends on agriculture, service sector, tourism and remittances of Moroccan expatriates. However, all these sources of revenue have dwindled due to a series of factors such as draught, climate change, instability, the prevalence of corruption and embezzlement of public funds, terrorism, smuggling, drug trafficking and clandestine migration as well as the unfulfilled promises of democracy and respect for human rights that have all proved hollow. In addition to soaring prices of energy and basic commodities, the socio-economic and political situation is in a deep crisis that is worsening day by day. Although the King himself and his government and co-opted political parties were involved in preparing and controlling the last general elections, the poor results of the poll were symptomatic of the predicament of the regime and the widespread feeling of discontent shared by the majority of ordinary Moroccans.
In spite of the great interest exhibited by the major powers in the region, the conflict in Western Sahara remains an obstacle to the establishment of the Arab Maghreb Union, and hence the achievement of a dynamic regional integration that may also be beneficial to both the European Union and the United States.
It is to be noted that, despite their own differences, some of these powers have been seeking collectively and repeatedly to impose the Moroccan colonialist approach for resolving the conflict in Western Sahara, whilst trying to mislead the international public opinion by advancing the unfounded argument that the independence of Western Sahara would destabilise Morocco.
Their persistence in supporting the Moroccan intransigent and iniquitous position notwithstanding, the regional balance of power compels these powers to seek building bridges with other actors in the region.
The settlement of the conflict in Western Sahara has witnessed new developments including the shift in the Spanish traditional position following the coming to power of the new Spanish Government in 2004, which has made no secret of its support for Morocco’s position. Besides, it worked closely with the French Government, during Jacques Chirac’s presidency, in tandem with some influential circles in the US administration to endorse the so-called “autonomy project.”
More geopolitical changes are likely to take place following Sarkozy’s assumption of the presidency in France and in view of the outcomes of the coming elections in Spain and the United States.
This international and regional situation and the concomitant myriad of objective difficulties, which sometimes necessitated the adoption of additional programmes and plans to face those challenges, shaped the context in which the National Secretariat and other national institutions set out to implement the decisions of the 11th Congress of the Frente POLISARIO during the past four years. Its work concentrated on a number of tasks and key priorities that were outlined in the programme of national action adopted by the 11th Congress, which may be summed up as follows:
- To ensure the continuous strengthening of the preparedness and mobilisation of the Sahrawi People’s Liberation Army;
- To reinvigorate and expand the branches of the political organisation of the Frente POLISARIO;
- To reinforce and streamline the peaceful resistance in the occupied territories;
- To boost the spirit of resistance and determination, to upgrade the national institutions and uphold the principle of the rule of law;
- To mange the issue at the United Nations in a way that safeguards the national inalienable rights;
- To adopt an information plan capable of imparting the Sahrawi credible discourse and sustaining the uprising;
- To intensify the diplomatic work to gain more assistance, defence and support for the national rights and achievements.
Overall, over the past four years we have faced one of the most difficult phases of our struggle in which influential powers intervened in favour of Morocco’s position, whilst trying to compel us to submit and relinquish our national rights. In addition to the uprising, which represented the most significant event nationally, and the efforts deployed to overcome the stalemate of the UN peace process, the most conspicuous achievement during that phase is undoubtedly our success in facing up to this offensive and averting the occurrence of any crisis despite the continuous political and economic pressures.
On the organisational and political level, in the course of the ongoing resistance to the opponent’s propagandistic campaign and psychological war, the branches of the political organisation have contributed, at various levels, to shaping and guiding the national opinion, organising national activities, competitions and ceremonies and supervising political meetings. In addition to their significant contributions in the domains of information, publication, guidance and mobilisation, the branches have also played a great part in prompting mass solidarity with the uprising.
Emphasis was also placed on reinvigorating the political structures and promoting the political cadre using different methods including holding of specialised meetings, giving incentives to the branches and the commissioners, completing the profiles of the cadres and responding to the exigencies of the institution-building process in terms of decisions, supervision and follow-up.
To diversify and boost the political action, the liberated zones have become a new arena for political and information activity where a series of significant national actions took place. These included the commemoration of the proclamation of the Republic, the Launching of the Armed Struggle, the Martyr’s Day and the Zemla Uprising as well as political and intellectual meetings the most conspicuous of which was the meeting of the Political Commissioners and the Summer University. All these events were marked by a high sense of responsibility, enthusiasm and an overwhelming solidarity with the masses involved in the Independence Uprising.
Mass organisations have also been active in all programmes and initiatives taken by the Central Commission, as one of its energetic components. The UJSARIO (the Sahrawi Youth Union) has focused its work on reinvigorating the students’ union, establishing centres for youth, organising courses, promoting youth participation, reinforcing its international work, participating in international youth events and promoting the scout movement. Besides, the organisation of the students’ branches abroad and the joint inspection tours, which were done in collaboration with the Ministry of Education, have had positive results in terms of good conduct and academic achievement by the students.
The NUSW (National Union of Sahrawi Women) has carried out a number of campaigns for raising awareness and education as well as activities related to information and research. It has also pursued its work to upgrade the infrastructures of the organisation and its components. In this context, it has built more centres for women and carried out several training courses in different domains. It has also taken part in a large number of international events that helped to enhance its work internationally.
The UGTSARIO (The Sahrawi Trade Union) has organised a number of activities domestically and internationally, and has acquired an observer status in the International Trade Union Confederation. It has also worked to upgrade and establish new professional unions such as the Journalists Union and the Craftsmen Union, and organised several training courses. Besides, it has taken up the issue of the Sahrawis who worked with the Spanish administration.
All mass organisations had successful congresses that were important platforms for taking stock of their programmes and plans and contributing significantly to the national democratic experience. At the national level, they have played a great part in creating a new and unparalleled dynamic thanks to the establishment of a network of training centres and the organisation of a series of activities, conferences and workshops. They have also been instrumental in setting up cooperatives in all camps and institutions in a constant attempt to explore all means and ways to mobilise, train and provide employment to women and the young population at large.
The AFAPREDESA (The Association of the Families of Sahrawi Disappeared and Detainees) and the Sahrawi Union of Jurists have been active in raising and following up the human rights situation in the occupied territories and southern Morocco. They have also been instrumental in defending the victims of gross human rights abuses and exposing the Moroccan brutal repression against Sahrawi activists. In addition, they have taken part, together with the other mass organisations, in the sessions of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva and the international social forums in Brazil, Mali and Kenya in which their participation helped to advance the national cause in such promising terrains for their international work.
As far as the legislative body is concerned, the Sahrawi National Council pursued its regular work by holding its sessions to review and discuss the programmes presented by the Government and to pass a series of law bills. The laws passed by the Council included those that regulate its relation with the Government, and those that standardise or amend other legal measures such as law practice, penalties, punitive sanctions, civil sanctions, delinquency, mosques, veterinary, organisation of territorial units, civil law, traffic act, administrative organisation and ratification of international treaties.
The Sahrawi National Council has also contributed to raising the profile of the Sahrawi question internationally, where a number of work visits were conducted in which contacts were established with regional, national and continental parliaments in Europe, Africa and Latin America. Several parliamentarian delegations were received by the Council in the camps. In addition to ensuring the implementation by its standing committees of their respective plans of action, the Council organised a number of training courses for its members and managed to have all its archives computerised. The Council’s current term was marked by the laying of the foundation stone of the new temporary building of the Council in Tifariti, and by holding two of its opening sessions in the liberated zones.
This affords us the opportunity to applaud the well-matched and responsible interaction between the Executive and the Legislature and the coherence that marked the work of the Cabinet officials, with a view to achieving the objectives that had been set. This spirit of cooperation indicates that there is a growing awareness and a greater understanding of the mechanisms of work in our incipient democratic experience that aims to establish a state based on law and institutions in the course of the overall national struggle.
As far as the Pan-African Parliament is concerned, our country has taken part in monitoring a number of elections in several African countries. The Sahrawi Constitutional Council has also participated in monitoring elections and reviewing the laws and organisational rules to ensure its constitutionality, in addition to commissioning studies on the constitution and the statute of the Frente POLISARIO and organising several symposia as well as publishing a number of informative articles in the national media.
The Sahrawi Consultative Council has contributed to reinforcing the national coherence and unity and providing guidance as well as highlighting and promoting the Islamic venerable precepts and the noble values and ethics of our people.
It is an opportunity to pay tribute to those distinguished fathers who have passed away while discharging their dignified duties, after years of active engagement in our struggle during which they put their lives and wisdom at the service of their homeland and people and remained devoted to them until the last day of their lives.
Actions were also taken concerning the Sahrawi communities abroad whose branches were revitalised to enhance their participation in the overall national struggle. Major aspects of their contribution consisted in commemorating national ceremonies, organising solidarity events with the uprising in addition to information and cultural activities and taking positive steps towards host civil societies. In this context, meetings of the Sahrawi communities of the northern and southern sectors were held in addition to the steps being taken to organise the community in Europe and hold meetings for those living in the liberated zones to maintain their attachment to the national cause.
Following the first session of the National Secretariat, in line with the decisions of the 11th Congress of the Frente POLISARIO, it was decided that very special attention should be given to the occupied territories and southern Morocco, and that work should continue to bring about the necessary qualitative leap in the struggle waged by our people in those areas.
Without doubt, the launching of the peaceful resistance, through the mounting uprising, which coincided with the commemoration of the 32nd anniversary of the launching of the armed struggle on 20 May 2005, represented indeed one of the most conspicuous developments of our national struggle in its entirety.
The peaceful uprising that took place in the occupied territories and southern Morocco as well as in Moroccan universities, in which all sections of society have taken part, gave an impetus to the national struggle, galvanised the national and international opinion and changed the realities on the ground. It has foiled the opponent’s plans to subsume the Sahrawis, and demonstrated to the world that the conflict is between the entire Sahrawi people on the one hand and the Moroccan regime, on the other. The generations that were born and raised under occupation are the striking force in the uprising where pupils and students studying at Moroccan universities have been actively involved.
The uprising has also demonstrated very clearly the consensus of the Sahrawi people around the objective of national independence. By means of hoisting the national flag, distributing leaflets and raising banners and the like, the uprising has come to embody the fact that the Frente POLISARIO is the sole organising, rallying, unifying and leading force of the national struggle.
In the face of the brutal repressive campaigns of the occupying authorities in which huge material and human resources have been garnered including the forces stationed along the wall of shame and aided by a fierce propagandistic campaign, there was a pressing need to immediately adopt a practical policy to support and defend the uprising.
Given its vitality in terms of political activism and increasing visibility in the media, the uprising has created a propitious climate conducive to mitigating the consequences of the information blackout and security siege imposed on the territory. It has also contributed to putting the situation of human rights centre-stage, and breaking the wall of fear instilled by years of occupation.
A national campaign, which is still underway, was launched at the United Nations and other international forums in which solidarity movements in Spain, Europe and worldwide participated actively by staging demonstrations in front of Moroccan embassies, organising visits to the occupied territories despite Morocco’s banning of entry to the territories, and making representations towards their governments and parliaments. The campaign has yielded positive results manifest in ensuring the release of dozens of Sahrawi political detainees on different occasions.
During a short period, a great number of Sahrawi human rights activists were given international awards of human rights. These prizes were in fact an honour for the Sahrawi courageous resistance, and a proof of the growing power of the uprising and of the justness of the cause advocated by the activists as well as an act of recognition of the gross violations of human rights perpetrated by the Moroccan State against their people. Many human rights activists were able to conduct visits to a number of countries and establish contact with international human rights organisations that were instrumental in documenting the human rights violations and repressive practices pursued by the Moroccan State.
One of the major results in this regard, which has had a positive impact, is the report elaborated by the delegation of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in September 2006. Whilst bringing to light the human rights abuses perpetrated by the Moroccan State, the report also emphasised that those violations stem from the denial of a fundamental right, namely the right of the Sahrawi people to self-determination, and recommended the need for setting up a mechanism for monitoring the situation of human rights in Western Sahara.
The reports of the former and current UN Secretaries-General dedicated important paragraphs to this key issue that represent an international testimony to the magnitude of human rights abuses, which also substantiate the contents of the letters, reports, communiqués and testimonies provided by the Sahrawi authorities in this regard.
Another major step was the acceptance by the Spanish judge Baltasar Garzon to open an inquest into the legal case levelled against Moroccan officials who were involved in genocide and gross human rights violations in Western Sahara. This move will help to expose further Morocco’s repressive practices in the territory and provide some protection for the people involved in the uprising.
Without doubt, all these elements have helped to unmask the real face of the Moroccan expansionist regime as a system based on oppression and terror. They have also laid bare Morocco’s unfounded claims, which it has been propagating for three decades, and revealed its lies before the international community and the Moroccan brotherly people as well.
This fact was also confirmed during the exchange of visits by Sahrawi families on both sides of the Moroccan wall of shame in the context of the confidence-building measures that were initiated by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees in 2004.
Despite the intensive propagandistic campaign launched by the Moroccan authorities before and after this operation, in which they widely propagated the myth of the “sequestered” that they themselves had invented to describe the Sahrawi refugees, the way in which the programme developed dealt a heavy blow to their orchestrated claims and schemes.
The family visits have become a positive meeting point and a manifestation of strong solidarity and unity between the Sahrawis divided by the Moroccan occupation, and of their collective rejection of Morocco’s colonial presence in their territory. They have also contributed to fuelling the spirit of resistance and determination among our people and strengthening their conviction of the inevitability of independence. Equally important, they were an eye-opener to the brotherly Moroccan people as to the disingenuousness of the official discourses of their Government.
Moreover, a revealing indicator in this regard is the increasing visibility of the Sahrawi question in Moroccan media and political debate, where several media have managed to raise the issue in order to enlighten the Moroccan reader about its realities. Several Moroccan circles have also begun to express principled positions as to supporting the right of the Sahrawi people to self-determination such as the historic and leading stances exhibited by the Nahdj Aldimoukhrati (Democratic Path) and the Moroccan Association for Human Rights and a host of Moroccan personalities.
The national and international campaign against the Moroccan wall of shame, as a crime against humanity still enduring in the 21st century, was carried on steadily through the staging of several demonstrations in front of the wall itself in which many foreign delegations took part. Besides, a series of protests, meetings, symposia and media follow-ups were organised both domestically and internationally.
Thanks to all these efforts, the Moroccan wall, conceived primarily to protect Moroccan forces, has been transformed from a colonial instrument into a heavy burden and a mark of shame, given that it continues to separate Sahrawi families by millions of landmines including antipersonnel mines that are banned internationally.
In line with its international obligations, the Frente POLISARIO signed the Deed of Commitment of Geneva Call, the international treaty to ban antipersonnel mines, and has destroyed a great part of its mine stockpiles ever since. This move was also a contribution to achieving a just and peaceful solution and expediting the elimination of this looming danger in order to allow Sahrawi families to cross overland to meet each other. In addition, it was meant to provide safety to the Sahrawis on whom the Moroccan mines have taken a heavy toll on both sides of the wall.
We would like to express our denunciation of the horrendous crime committed by the Moroccan Government, in October 2005, against dozens of African and Asian immigrants who were driven by force to the other side of the wall of shame, where they were left to face dehydration and starvation and even death. If it were not for the intervention by units of the Sahrawi Army, the death toll could have been higher.
The Sahrawi humanitarian initiative of releasing the remaining 404 Moroccan POWs was received by approval and great appreciation by international community. The prisoners were the last group of the thousands of prisoners that had been captured while engaged in a brutal war against our people and then released on various occasions. The initiative was also a humanitarian and noble gesture stemming from the policy pursued by the Sahrawi revolution, which is based on the respect for international humanitarian law and for the bonds of fraternity and neighbourhood binding us with the brotherly Moroccan people. Besides, it was a reaffirmation of the genuine will and good faith of the Sahrawi authorities to reach a just solution to the conflict.
In the field of national defence, the general situation of the army was constantly reviewed and regular inspection visits were conducted. In order to boost the preparedness of the army, tactical operations were also carried out along with training courses at different levels. In the period under review, the rate of enlisting in the army noticeably increased, thus ensuring that the military regions regularly received new groups of conscripts.
Regular payment of allowances, which were raised by 75%, was reported, and budges for the management for military schools and directorates were allocated. Efforts were also made towards the families of the martyrs, the wounded, the disabled and the elderly among the military.
A prime objective was constantly to ensure the continuous strengthening of the preparedness and mobilisation of the Sahrawi People’s Liberation Army. In this context, significant steps were made whereby military regions were further equipped, and standards of nutrition and health care were improved. Whist maintenance of the military arsenal was regularly conducted, more workshops and stores were built in the rearguard in addition to several military centres and facilities that were established in the liberated zones. The museum of the Sahrawi Army was also built.
The Sahrawi People’s Liberation Army has contributed significantly to augmenting the visibility of the liberated zones in the last four years. In addition to the organisation of several activities, such as Martyr El-Wali’s military competition, the military regions hosted a large number of national activities, and took part in clearing some areas of landmines and unexploded ordnance.
In the period under review, the SADR took part in many activities and functions organised by the African Union in relation to military and security issues.
As for the UN level and diplomatic work, we should underscore, at the outset, the approach that was outlined by the 11th Congress, which was founded on the need to manage the conflict in a way that would safeguard the national rights and overcome the existing impasse.
In this context, following its acceptance of Baker Plan, the peace plan for self-determination of the people of Western Sahara, the Frente POLISARIO continued its engagement with the United Nations with a view to creating a dynamic that would reveal and test the real intentions of the opponent, and make the international community deal with the question more seriously.
When the Moroccan Government declared, in April 2004, its rejection of the idea of a self-determination referendum as well as its affirmation that it would accept only an autonomy within the Moroccan sovereignty, this constituted a dangerous development in the history of the conflict. Furthermore, it represented a blatant reneging by Morocco on its international commitments and on the agreements that it had concluded with the Frente POLISARIO under the auspices of the United Nations. This situation necessitated that appropriate responses be made in line with the policies drawn up by the 11th Congress, and the realities and the existing international balance of power.
These responses have involved the intensified diplomatic work to expose Morocco’s intransigent position, maintaining informed the UN Secretary-General, the members of the Security Council and the General Assembly, increasing the visibility of the liberated zones and intensifying the peaceful resistance in the occupied territories.
Mr James Baker III’s resignation from his post as Personal Envoy of the UN Secretary-General was yet another setback for the UN efforts. This also revealed the involvement of influential international actors in obstructing the settlement plan of which aim was to enable the Sahrawi people to exercise their right to self-determination in a free and fair referendum that would lead—as Morocco knew very well—to independence. It was this fact that made James Baker state, in July 2004, that “whenever the United Nations was closer to organise the referendum, the Moroccan Government created new obstacles.”
For his part, the US diplomat and former ambassador at the UN, John Bolton, made it clear in this book released in November 2007 that, “it was the bureaucracy of the State Department aided by the National Security Council that precluded the holding of the self-determination in Western Sahara on the grounds that it would destabilise the Moroccan throne. ”
Another serious development consisted in the intensified efforts deployed by some Western powers that sought to muster international support for Morocco’s position, exerting all forms of pressure on our friends, including Algeria, and on us including threats to impose the Moroccan proposal for solution and reduce the humanitarian aid to the refugees. They also warned that they would remain indifferent to the gross human rights violations in the occupied territories to the extent that they suppressed the report of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and prevented the Security Council from raising the issue. Besides, they continued their campaign to convince the countries recognising the Sahrawi Republic to freeze their recognition, whilst pursuing their frenzied campaign to charge the Frente POLISARIO with terrorism and the like.
It has become clear that the primary objective of the Moroccan Government is to override the right of the Sahrawi people to self-determination and independence, and to remove the question out of its legal and historical context, whilst presenting it as just a Moroccan domestic problem or, at best, a dispute with Algeria.
We would like to express our profound appreciation for the positions taken by the brotherly Algeria that has constantly resisted the manoeuvres aiming at distorting the nature of the conflict in Western Sahara. Algeria has consistently faced up to the repeated attempts to implicate her as a main party to the conflict by inviting her to negotiate directly wity6h the Moroccan Government, or to be part of a quartet that would include her along with Morocco, France and Spain, as some Western powers proposed once.
Following a period of hesitation, at instigation of some foreign quarters, the Moroccan Government began a campaign to propagate the so-called autonomy plan, which was immediately backed by France, Spain and the US. This move was meant as a prelude to a new scheme that aims at imposing this new approach and making it the only option before the Security Council, and thus the only way to settle the conflict.
To face up to this manoeuvre, the Frente POLISARIO presented its proposal in April 2007, well before Morocco officially submitted its plan, a move that gave rise to a new shift within the United Nations. This proposal, which is balanced and objective, combines both the attachment to achieving a peaceful solution based on the respect for the will of the Sahrawi people and the willingness to address the concerns of the occupying power. As such, it has had positive results, not least when it comes to foiling the scheme aiming at imposing the Moroccan colonial plan, whilst preserving the established framework for resolving the conflict.
Moreover, the efforts deployed at the Security Council, the IV Committee on Decolonisation and the General Assembly, in cooperation with our friends and allies, led to the affirmation by the majority of the members of the Security Council of their attachment to international legality.
Because of this new confrontation, the Security Council adopted resolution 1754, which was re-endorsed by resolution 1783, which called for “negotiations between the two parties to the conflict with a view to reaching a solution that would provide for the self-determination of the people of Western Sahara.”
Besides it´s contribution in the new offensive, the negotiations, which were conducted on this basis, generated an unprecedented coverage by international media and gave the Sahrawi question more visibility internationally, whilst opening up new horizons for our diplomatic work. This situation has had a positive impact on all Sahrawis everywhere.
It is clear that the two previous rounds of negotiation were disappointing for the Moroccan Government that was seeking to use them as a way to press on with its new plan. Furthermore, the negotiations also rebutted the claim about the bilateral character of the conflict between Algeria and Morocco, and affirmed to the international community that, in the context of the United Nations, the two parties to the conflict are the Moroccan Kingdom and the Frente POLISARIO, the sole and legitimate representative of the Sahrawi people.
This is the reason that made the Moroccan Government seek to obstruct the negotiations by exhibiting more intransigence and restoring to provocation and keeping on stalling in giving its agreement on the proposed dates for the next rounds.
Moreover, it has unexpectedly decided not to go forward with the implementation of some confidence-building measures that it had already accepted such as the cultural seminar including Sahrawis coming from both sides of the berm, which was scheduled to take place in Madeira, Portugal, on 12 and 16 November 2007.
That the “autonomy” plan has run out of steam, both inside Morocco and abroad, affirms the fact that it was already born dead, because it represents a blatant violation of the dictates of international legality. Therefore, it can never be a basis for negotiations and that is why the Sahrawis reject it outright. This also shows its failure as a colonial manoeuvre aiming at making the conflict a Sahrawi-Sahrawi dispute.
The actions taken in the context of the settlement process were paralleled by a consistent diplomatic work aiming at safeguarding our achievements, consolidating the Sahrawi State, and giving more visibility to the Independence Uprising as well as unmasking the real face of the Moroccan regime and its violations of human rights.
As far as the African Union is concerned, the Sahrawi Republic participated in all AU summits and conferences, and ensured the timely payment of its annual contributions. There was also a constant contact with member states and coordination with our friends to face up to the Moroccan manoeuvres such as the French-led campaign that sought to freeze our country’s membership in the AU, which intensified during the summit held in Banjul in 2006.
Work also continued at the level of all AU institutions such as the Pan-African Parliament that adopted significant motions on the Sahrawi question.
The recognition by South Africa of the Sahrawi Republic on 15 September 2004 was a turning point in our diplomatic struggle and a highly commendable move that led to the establishment of close relations at the highest levels and strengthening of our ties of cooperation and solidarity. A conspicuous manifestation of this is South Africa’s staunch defence of the right of the Sahrawi people to self-determination in the Security Council.
President Thabo M’Beki’s letter to the Moroccan King, in which he outlined the reasons for recognition, and the subsequent formal recognition were significant events that have had a very positive impact on a large scale. On the one hand, this represented a robust response to the Moroccan, French and Spanish campaigns aimed at freezing recognitions of the Sahrawi Republic, and encouraged other countries to recognise or re-establish relations with the Sahrawi Republic, on the other. In this context, new Sahrawi embassies were established and new ambassadors were accredited in a number of African countries. New channels of communication were established with political forces in Africa such as the Socialist Party of Senegal that invited a Sahrawi delegation to attend its Congress held in Dakar in October 2007.
In Europe, many actions were taken towards the EU member states to ensure the consistency of their positions as to our national cause. Efforts were also made to ensure more visibility of the uprising as well as protection of human rights and the natural resources of our country. In this context, we would like to applaud the positions taken by the Nordic countries in opposition to the EU-Moroccan Fisheries Agreement.
We also appreciate highly the resolutions adopted by the European Parliament in favour of the right of our people to self-determination and the defence of human rights in the occupied territories as well as providing humanitarian aid to the Sahrawi refugees.
It is necessary to point out the improvement of the European position in general, which manifested in the voting at the IV Committee on Decolonisation, the General Assembly and the Security Council, where many countries chose not to follow the French and Spanish positions that were presented as the European position on Western Sahara. This has also given rise to positive European stances the most conspicuous of which was the adoption by the Italian Parliament of a motion demanding the Government to grant diplomatic status to the representation of the Frente POLISARIO in Rome. Equally important was the increasing support and solidarity of the Spanish peoples with our people, which is having a greater impact on Spanish domestic politics.
Extraordinary efforts were deployed towards Latin America and the Caribbean where numerous visits were conducted, including presidential visits and others by the National Council and the Foreign Ministry, given that the region has become targeted by Morocco and its allies, as they have been targeting other organisations such as the NAM and the IS. Nonetheless, the countries in the region maintained their positive positions as to our national cause. The presence of the Sahrawi Republic in the region was further consolidated by new recognitions and the establishment of relations with other countries such as the cases of Uruguay, Haiti, Nicaragua and Ecuador.
The announcement of the Sahrawi Government to conclude contracts on future exploration of oil and gas with foreign companies added a new dimension to our diplomatic work. The interest shown so far by an increasing number of companies demonstrates their trust in the viability of an independent Sahrawi State in the future, which also reflects their belief in the legality and legitimacy of the struggle waged by the Sahrawi people.
The European Coordination of Solidarity with the Sahrawi People, which has also acquired an international character, and the parliamentary inter-group “Peace for the Sahrawi People” have constantly been active in supporting our national cause. Moreover, the international network of solidarity has actively engaged in campaigns that forced some foreign companies to terminate the contracts that they had concluded with the Moroccan Government to exploit our national resources. It has also contributed significantly to mitigating the consequences ensuing from the reduction of humanitarian aid by specialist international agencies as well as the effects of the series of floods that hit the refugee camps in the past years.
The last years were also marked by greater participation of members of the international network of solidarity with the Sahrawi people as petitioners at the UN IV Committee on Decolonisation. The network was also reinforced by the establishment of friendship committees in Brazil, Chile, Uruguay and Paraguay and solidarity committees in all Algerian provinces and one in the Arab world.
The Sahrawi refugee camps and the liberated zones received a large number of foreign delegations, roughly 40,000 visitors, including heads of state, ministers, heads of autonomous governments, presidents of local and regional parliaments and general secretaries of political parities, among others.
Other delegations included cooperation workers, medical missions, representatives of specialised agencies, families and media that came to take part in cultural activities and national events. All possible resources were harnessed to provide them with a pleasant stay in the camps.
As far as the Foreign Service is concerned, annual conferences and meetings were organised to take stock of the service’s work. A group of skilled young people joined the service, whilst the Head Office ensured that embassies and representations were constantly provided with the relevant information.
In the administrative domain, the organisational structures were expanded in line with the decisions of the 11th Congress and in keeping with the evolution of our society and the need to carry on the institutional consolidation of the Sahrawi State. In this context, new institutions were established such as the Constitutional Council, the State Department for Public Service and Employment, the State Department for Youth and Sport, the State Department for Social Affairs and Promotion of Women, the Ministry of Trade and the Fatwa Council. With the launching of the Official State Gazette, new measures were introduced to streamline the functioning of the Government by means of reinvigorating the mechanisms of coordination between its components. Besides the efforts deployed to make the public administration more accessible to the citizens, a large number of acts and protocols were issued to regulate work in different domains. The administrative guide was also reviewed, and several topic-specific meetings and symposia were held in this regard.
Furthermore, more computing facilities were established, together with the upgrading of the security services by re-equipping them and improving the work of security groups at all levels. Regimes of administrative inspection were also established, whilst the General Register Office, postal services and transportation were accorded special importance. Other measures involved organising and updating the records of all participating workers and earmarking allowances for employees in the public service in proportion to the available resources.
In the social and economic fields, efforts were made to ensure the schooling of all school-aged children, and to improve the preparatory education system and pedagogical training and to standardise the primary education at the national level as well as the curriculum. Significant steps were taken to upgrade the education infrastructure in the camps where special attention was given to kindergarten. In addition, hundreds have graduated from universities and institutes in different specialisations. In terms of improving supervision and organising students’ branches, the last years were characterised by a noticeable improvement in conduct and academic achievement of the students studying in friendly and brotherly countries. Good results were also achieved in terms of the Baccalaureate examinations and the students’ participation in summer programmes.
In the health sector, the valuable experience and achievements attained in this field have been consolidated by means of improving health facilities, paying more attention to the personnel and adopting an integrated preventive policy based on research and scientific studies.
Whilst no major epidemics were reported, a health national programme was launched for children and women and several symposia were held to promote health and professional awareness. Promoting health care, creating a mechanism for monitoring chronic diseases, and receiving a large number of medical missions all have had a positive impact on the health situation of the population. Pharmaceutical production was improved quantitatively and qualitatively, whilst veterinary services were upgraded. Besides, voluntary campaigns have contributed to maintaining standards of cleanness and preservation of the habitat.
In the domain of justice and religious affairs, several mosques were established and regulated, and more efforts were made to standardise the jurisprudence, to regulate the Koranic schools and to promote religious and legal guidance. Whilst improvement of the court system was reported, the national legal corpus was also upgraded. Professional standards of law practitioners were improved by ensuring a constant training and retraining of judges and lawyers, and an office charged with research on legal matters was established.
In terms of social care and promotion of women, a programme was drawn up for those with special needs and new criteria regulating their situation were set. Several initiatives were made to encourage the promotion of women by means of training, guidance and investing more resources in this regard.
As far as youth and sport are concerned, the summer programme of vacations in peace was organised annually in which tens of thousands of children were able to travel abroad to have medical treatment, to take part in many leisure activities and to contribute to raising more awareness about our national cause. Significant efforts were made towards the youth in terms of guidance and employment.
Whilst improvement of the situation of the national support was reported, several competitions of the Sahara Marathon for solidarity with our people were successfully organised.
Despite the decision of the UN agencies, particularly the WFP and UNHCR, to reduce their aid by 43%, it was thanks to the efforts made at a national level and the international solidarity that it was possible to mitigate the negative consequences of this decision and avert the incidence of severe crises in the vital sectors of our life. In particular, the complementarity between economic activities and those related to service and production sectors ensured the relative stability of the diet of the population and regular provision of the basic services. It has also helped to mitigate the effects of draught that hit the liberated zones.
As far as the production area is concerned, more projects with international funding were reported in this sector, which was also reinforced by more human resources and specialists. Significant efforts were made to encourage the experience of private gardens, and to initiate and maintain a developmental policy that aims to plant more trees on a large scale. More production was also reported in terms of our livestock population.
On the whole, food distribution programmes were conducted on a regular basis to ensure satisfaction of the basic needs. Whilst additional food stores were constructed, more sources of potable water were also created in the vicinity of the camps.
All transport programmes were carried out satisfactorily, and urgent needs in terms of gas and fuel were all adequately addressed.
During the period under review, the annual budgets allocated for the Government were raised by more than 130%, of which 75.76% provided for the allowances granted to public servants.
The trade sector contributed to augmenting the overall financial capital and hence the annual allocations for the Government. Efforts were also made to guarantee a minimum financial support for public institutions to ensure better standards of work and productivity.
There was an increase in the financial contributions received in the context of international cooperation, which reached 52%. Whilst the rate of projects that were implemented was more than 20%, an increase in the rate of aid given by Spain and the Italian cooperation programme was reported. Besides, 70 twinning agreements were concluded.
In the construction sector, all programmes were carried out satisfactorily. In addition, a great deal of repair work was done specially after the floods that hit the camps in 2006 using the national workforce.
In this context, it is necessary to underline the great efforts of solidarity made by the Algerian brotherly State to support different vital sectors such as education, health, transport, among others, as well as its generous and constant contribution to addressing the food deficit caused by the reduction of humanitarian aid destined for the Sahrawi refugees.
As far as information and culture are concerned, the information institution was reinforced by establishing new administrative structures and using modern technologies in order to improve the professional standards of its personnel. Steps were taken to create a press centre, and more progress was made towards the official launching of the national television, and the compilation of the media archives. Besides, the National Radio has played a great role in covering the Independence Uprising and maintaining contact with the people in the occupied territories. The Sahrawi Press Service (SPS) has made a qualitative progress whilst becoming a main national source of news for international media.
The magazine, Esahra Alhura (Free Sahara) has achieved an unprecedented development from a monthly to a weekly that is issued regularly. More issues of the magazine 20 May and the journals of the mass organisations were released. Besides, dozens of websites have played a great part in ensuring constant and timely reporting on different aspects of our national cause, such as the website sponsored by the Sahrawi Union of Writers and Journalists (UPES).
The information units in the occupied territories and southern Morocco have also played a great role in overcoming the information blackout imposed on the territory by ensuring real-time and audiovisual reporting on different aspects of the suffering inflicted on the Sahrawis living under occupation.
In order to maintain the Sahrawi culture and identity, a large number of research works, symposia and conferences relating to Sahrawi history and culture were organised. In cooperation with universities and teams coming from abroad, significant archaeological and historical studies were made which led to the discovery of more archaeological sites in the liberated zones. More attention was given to museums, and steps were taken to cerate the national library. Besides, events such the national festival of culture, the international cinema festival and the national theatre sessions were regularly organised, and more attention was paid to the symbols of folk poets and to ensuring participation in a number of international cultural events.
The Congresses held by the Frente POLISARIO have always represented optimum opportunities to review and take stock of all aspects of our organisation and policies, and to identify the mistakes and flaws in order to address them in the future plans and programmes of action.
In this context, despite the achievements made in the period following the 11th Congress, a series of limitations was reported, which includes:
In the political and organisational domain, most of the workers in the sector lacked necessary professional enthusiasm and responsibility coupled with the weakness of the structures charged with supervision and lack of rigorous professional ethics. This situation had somehow affected the credibility of the organisation. The lack of a policy that is responsive to the changes taking place within society has hampered the full incorporation of young people and other groups, that have sprang from the new situation, within the structures of the organisation. Whilst mass organisations did not fully assume their role as mobilising forces within society, no major steps were taken to organise the Sahrawi communities abroad, particularly in Europe, or to adopt an effective political programme as regards those living in the liberated zones.
In the defence area, although there is still a need for ensuring higher standards of preparedness amid the army units, there are also some sectors that need to be further strengthened such as the political commission for the army, the military justice, the gendarmerie, the audition and financial bodies and the central directorates. Shortage was reported in the areas of transport, potable water, food and medicine. Besides, the whole area has witnessed some activities that affect the environment and our archaeological heritage.
As far as the occupied territories are concerned, migration of young people has become a cause of great concern because it serves the policy pursued by Morocco that aims to empty the territory of its inhabitants and strip the uprising of its active force.
In the foreign policy field, the performance of some embassies and representations was less than satisfactory. Weakening of the position of the Liberal International and the freezing by some countries of their diplomatic relations with the Sahrawi Republic were reported. Problems were also raised as regards coordination between the Head Office and the other components of the Foreign Service, low standards of professional proficiency of some foreign servants and the lack of effective communication with the Sahrawi communities abroad.
There is still a shortage of sufficient qualified personnel to deal with the increasing number of visiting foreign delegations. As far as the Protocol Department is concerned, there is still an overlapping between the task of receiving foreign delegations on the one hand, and performing practical protocol functions, on the other. Besides, the protocol structures at regional level are still weak.
In relation to the public administration, a number of difficulties were reported regarding the modernisation of the system, lack of accountability and inadequacy of the administrative punitive measures in place. Problems were also raised as regards the inadequate performance of administrative services including the registry, documentation, inspection and supervision.
Furthermore, there are still problems concerning lack of clear criteria for employment and promotion in addition to those related to the allowances and incorporation of recent graduates and professionals.
The policies of planning, orientation and programming are still unable to overcome the inadequate performance of some structures, especially the security units that are still under-resourced and lacking in mechanisms for providing emergency assistance in times of catastrophe. In addition to the lack of cooperation between some structures and inspection bodies, there is still a disproportion between local administrative structures and the responsibilities they are required to assume.
Concerning the social and economic domain, the most serious and catastrophic threat facing our society consists in the decrease of the demographic growth of the population, which is compounded by the increasing rate of migration. Indeed, this situation will have serious repercussions on the existence of our people. In this context, the extravagance characterising wedding ceremonies these days, which is incompatible with the precepts of our religion and social values, has made many young people put off marriage.
As far as education is concerned, the role of family in the educational process is still limited. In addition to the shortage of school materials, the performance of teachers and the academic achievements of the pupils are still inadequate. Whilst there is a lack of an integrated curriculum, there is little interest in foreign languages and scientific specialisations. The health services are still weak in addition to the shortage of medical equipments for diagnosis and the inadequacy of forensic and legal medicine. There are still difficulties experienced in the areas of medical inspection, water treatment, and the hygiene situation of the surroundings.
Despite the progress made, there is still work to be done in order to engender a law-abiding culture amid the population, particularly when considering the evolution of society and the emergence of new practices.
There are still difficulties related to the low professional standards of the personnel working in the area of social care, the employment of young people, lack of coordination in the summer programme and the inadequate situation of mass and school sports.
Whilst there is still complete dependence on foreign aid, the available resources are not rationalised adequately. Few steps have been made to incorporate national workforce in self-reliance projects and to initiate revenue-generating projects. Besides, no major efforts have been made to upgrade industrial and mechanical workshops and to ensure that the national market is fully regulated.
The national livestock population has not been developed to the extent of contributing to satisfying the national needs, whilst the trade sector has failed in incorporating all specialists in the field.
As far as culture and information are concerned, there are still some difficulties in terms of having a long-term personnel and the deteriorating situation of some stations and studios. Whilst national media in general have not fully played their educative role in society, the SPS is still facing major logistical problems despite its being the official news agency. Besides, the project of establishing a publication and printing service has not been materialised yet.
In the cultural area, some parts of our archaeological heritage have been stolen and smuggled abroad. There are still some problems relating to the apathy exhibited by some artists and lack of professionalism in art.
We are therefore called on to assume our historical responsibilities to make decisive decisions that fulfil the aspirations of our people and meet the challenges of strengthening the national unity and consolidating our common vision. We are called on to engage in responsible analysis of the national and international situation, to reinforce our achievements, and to deal very objectively with our weak points in order to rectify them. We should also try to draw up plans for future work, to mobilise all our national resources and energies and to develop the methods of our struggle in order to prepare for all possibilities.
The major challenges that we face include:
1. To conduct a thorough review and overhaul of the structures, missions and personnel of our organisation with a view to placing the citizen centre-stage, strengthening the Sahrawi State and its values, making possible the generational continuity, and consolidating the Frente POLISARIO as the political organisation and the sole and legitimate representative of the Sahrawi people;
2. To search for new ways to strengthen the political organisation and modernise the discourse and reinforce the role to be played by mass organisations in society. There is also a need for building the capacity for formulating solutions conducive to reinvigorating the administrative and political structures in order to play their role in organising the masses and their political actions;
3. To develop our national structures with a view to consolidating our national unity and creating an ampler space for all opinions and tendencies to flourish on the basis of defending our national independence and promoting reform and transformation;
4. To intensify the programmes and policies targeting the Sahrawi People’s Liberation Army that should remain the strategic priority of our struggle for liberation and existence with a view to upgrading its military capability and combativeness and creating the propitious moral and material conditions for it;
5. To support and strengthen the uprising and the peaceful resistance in the occupied territories and southern Morocco and to protect it by giving it more visibility in the media; to continue and expand the scope of this campaign to include more regions including Morocco itself.;
6. To establish a strong national administration that is equipped will all necessary human and material resources and modern technologies, and to review the structures and regulations and to create the necessary mechanisms for putting them into practice;
7. To reinforce the security apparatus to face up to the propagandistic and psychological war launched by the opponent, and to ensure close cooperation between all the specialised institutions in this regard;
8. To continue to build the justice system and to develop it; to reinforce the role of religious affairs and to develop the mosque institution with a view to protecting society against moral corruption and extremism;
9. To deal with the economic pressures and to intensify the efforts and mobilise ourselves with a view to strengthening the determination of our people, safeguarding their dignity and alleviating their suffering; to encourage the innovative and productive initiatives in all domains and to improve the services destined for the citizens; to promote justice, transparency of management and accountability;
10. To upgrade the levels of academic achievement at school, and to improve the professional standards of teachers and educators, and to develop the professional training;
11. To pursue the preventive health policy and to improve health services; to give incentives to health workers, and promote scientific research;
12. To promote women in society and to empower them to participate actively in the management and decision-making at all levels;
13. To promote the participation of young people and to diversify the programmes of summer vacations; to give special attention to the disabled and to support mass and school sports;
14. To ensure the growth of the population as a strategic policy, and to tackle all the problems that make young people put off marriage; to deal with the migration issue;
15. To maintain contact with the Sahrawi communities abroad, and to develop practical plans to ensure their participation in the national struggle;
16. To carry on the developmental projects and to upgrade the infrastructures in the liberated zones;
17. To modernise the information institution with all its administrative, professional and technical aspects in order to play its role in society, and to make use of modern and satellite technologies to improve its performance;
18. To protect our heritage and culture by documenting the national history and developing the arts; to face up to the systematic assimilation policy pursued by the Moroccan occupation authorities against the symbols of our national culture;
19. To lay the foundations for a sustained, dynamic and informed diplomatic work capable of setting the priorities, harnessing all human and material resources to ensure productivity and monitoring and shaping events;
20. To manage the conflict at the United Nations in a way that safeguards the inalienable national rights of the Sahrawi people to freedom and independence and ensures attachment to international legality; to foil the manoeuvres of the opponent, and press on the United Nations to assume its responsibility for protecting the fundamental human rights and liberties of the Sahrawi population; to intensify work to protect the national resources of the occupied territories, and to highlight the responsibility of the Spanish State for bringing the decolonisation of our country to conclusion;
21. To achieve the institutional consolidation of the Sahrawi state on a modern basis with a view to building a state of rule, democracy and good governance and one that aspires to fashioning a world of peace and prosperity that is free from all forms and manifestations of terrorism, violence, discrimination, drug trafficking, human trafficking and all other ills.
The Frente POLISARIO, as an organic extension of the Sahrawi national resistance throughout the history, is leading a liberation struggle that has been marked by great achievements, glories, sufferings, hardships and challenges.
We are engaged in a just liberation struggle that will continue until we attain our noble objectives, despite the difficulties and colonialist manoeuvres. We are determined to defend ourselves and our rights by all legitimate and internationally recognised means including peaceful resistance and armed struggle.
The primary objective of the Frente POLISARIO, since its inception, has been to promote the Sahrawi people as the real guarantor of resistance and victory. The Sahrawi revolution has laid the foundations for a modern society that is attached to its rights and based on the respect for democratic principles and human rights, tolerance, neighbourly relations, religious and cultural coexistence, and empowerment of women and gender equality.
The Sahrawi people have also made remarkable steps towards the institutional consolidation of their future independent state. The Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic, as the embodiment of the will of all Sahrawis to freedom and independence, is nowadays an irreversible reality and a founding member of the African Union as well as a stabilising factor in the region.
The past 34 years of national liberation and nation building bear testimony to the determination of our people to succeed as well as their rejection of submission, knowing that the struggle for freedom cannot be measured by years but rather by the attachment to freedom despite the sacrifices and suffering that it entails.
For the past years, the opponent and its allies have based their policies on the assumption, which has been proved unfounded, that it has complete control over the land and its inhabitants. To underestimate the Sahrawi national struggle, the opponent also claims that it is a matter of a group of combatants and refugees who will soon accept the fait accompli under severe pressure of time and by reducing humanitarian aid.
However, thanks to the determination of our heroic army, the resistance of our people in the refugee camps and the occupied territory and the support and solidarity of friends and allies around the world, the opponent was proved wrong when the peaceful resistance was launched and spread all over the occupied territory, southern Moroccan and Moroccan universities.
Contrary to the delusions of the opponent, the undisputable fact nowadays, which has long been championed by the Frente POLISARIO, consists in the categorical rejection by all Sahrawis of the Moroccan colonial presence in Western Sahara.
This unprecedented Sahrawi national consensus reflects the soundness of the basis on which the Frente POLISARIO was founded as the embodiment of the will of the people and defender of their aspirations and national rights.
The inventory of our struggle, marked by not only great feats and glories but also the resourcefulness of our people and their capacity to diversify their methods of struggle including armed struggle and peaceful resistance, make us feel very proud of our people and their determination, and more convinced of victory. Today more than ever the Sahrawis are more attached to their legitimate and sacred rights, strongly united behind the vanguard of their struggle, the Frente POLISARIO, and prepared to give more sacrifices for freedom and independence.
From this liberated zone, we renew our call on the international community, with all its components, particularly the United Nations, the members of the Security Council and the European Union to fully assume their responsibilities for putting an end to the conflict in Western Sahara on a just and legal basis.
History and reality have demonstrated that the Moroccan-Sahrawi conflict can only be resolved in the framework of the UN resolutions and thus by means of decolonising Western Sahara and enabling the Sahrawi people to exercise their right to self-determination.
More than 32 years of Sahrawi resolute resistance to injustice and Moroccan occupation have confirmed the groundlessness of the misleading claim that any independence of Western Sahara, based on implementing international legality, would threaten Morocco’s stability. The fact remains that Morocco’s instability stems, above all, from its own expansionism that it has sought to impose on all its neighbours.
One can say without exaggeration that the Sahrawi people have shown that there will be no integration and stability in the Maghreb and North Africa without a solution to the conflict in Western Sahara through the exercise by the Sahrawi people of their legitimate rights.
The Sahrawi people have also demonstrated its willingness to reach that solution by peaceful means through its continuous cooperation with the efforts deployed by the international community and presenting constructive proposals and making substantial concessions.
The proposal for solution that was submitted by the Frente POLISARIO in April 2007 departs from fundamental bases including the respect for international legality and addressing the security and economic concerns of the colonial power, whilst leaving the door open for all options from which the Sahrawi people could choose freely and democratically.
Despite the manoeuvres and pressures, the Sahrawi people affirm today that they will never relinquish their rights or their legitimate means to defend themselves including the resumption of armed struggle.
Despite Morocco’s intransigence and its reneging on the agreements that it concluded with the Frente POLISARIO under the aegis of the United Nations and the failure of the international community to assume its responsibilities, we say that we do not favour armed struggle. However, if our people are forced to resume it, the war will definitely be much fiercer and will have incalculable consequences on the security and stability of the entire region.
We regret that the conflict has taken long and that it remains an obstacle to serving the vital and common interests in the Maghrebian and Mediterranean regions. This is mainly because some Western powers have chosen to support injustice and colonialism at the expense of international law and legality, human rights and the principles of democracy and the right to self-determination.
On such a great occasion, we would like to express our most sincere thanks and profound gratitude to all our friends and allies around the world including governments, political parties, civil society organisations and members of the international network of solidarity in Europe, Latin America, Asia, Australia and the United States for their standing by the just cause of our people in the most difficult of times, and for their attachment to their noble positions.
We would like to express our deep appreciation to the sisterly Algeria for its historic, courageous and principled position that is consistent with the ideals and principles of the glorious revolution of 1st November and with the dictates of international legality and the Constitutive Act of the African Union.
Algeria did not only take this clear political position that is based on rejecting the injustice inflicted on the Sahrawi people by Morocco that partitioned and occupied their territory by force in violation of international law.
Algeria did not only open her arms to host dozens of thousands of refugees who were fleeing whilst being bombed with napalm and white phosphorus by Moroccan aircrafts. Algeria has also been very present side by side with the Sahrawi people in their just liberation struggle even when she was going through difficult times. With her government, political parties and civil society organisations, Algeria has always been ready to provide assistance to face the pressures, hardships and calamities that have befallen the Sahrawi people.
From this liberated zone, we would like to hold the world witness to this unwavering Algerian position, to express our profound gratitude and appreciation to the sisterly Algeria, under the presidency of His Excellency President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, and to wish her more progress, prosperity, concord and reconciliation.
We would also like to applaud the courageous and principled positions of support exhibited by the Spanish peoples towards our just cause. We cannot but remind the Spanish State of its moral, legal and historical responsibilities towards the Sahrawi people and the decolonisation of Western Sahara.
We would like to salute Africa and its peoples that embraced the Sahrawi cause right from the beginning as the last decolonisation case in Africa, and defended it in all international forums despite the difficulties involved. A resounding manifestation of this position is the membership of the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic in the African Union, and the attachment of the AU to the decolonisation of Western Sahara and its conviction that freedom in Africa will always be incomplete until the Sahrawi people have exercised their right to self-determination and independence as the rest of all peoples in Africa. As was the case of the Apartheid regime in South Africa, Morocco’s status as no member of the African Union is a result of this country’s failure to abide by the Constitutive Act of the Union and to respect the borders inherited from the colonial era. Whilst we express our regret about the suffering of our African brothers in Somalia and Darfur and other places, we would like to express our willingness to work hand in hand with the African nations and peoples to ensure peace, stability and prosperity in our beloved continent.
In particular, we would like to applaud those Moroccan declared positions in support for the right of the Sahrawi people to self-determination such as those exhibited by Nahdj Aldimoukhrati (Democratic Path) and the Moroccan Association for Human Rights and several personalities. We would also like to assure the Moroccan brotherly people of our sincere and constant desire to build bridges of trust and cooperation in the framework of coexistence, peace and mutual respect between our two peoples and nations.
We would like to reaffirm the position of the Frente POLISARIO as to the need for establishing the Maghreb Arab Union (MAU) on just and constructive foundations underpinned by full respect for the dictates of international legality and peoples’ rights to self-determination.
The MAU to which we aspire is one that is free from hegemony and expansionism, where its six members work together and where all its human and economic resources are pooled for achieving its prosperity and progress. The Sahrawi people are fully prepared to contribute effectively to achieving this Maghrebin dream in a climate of dignity, freedom, democracy, peace and stability.
Based on the sincere will of the Sahrawi people to contribute to building a world where all its peoples enjoy freedom, we renew our support to the brotherly Palestinian people to exercise their right to self-determination and establish their independent state with Jerusalem as its capital, and to live in peace alongside all nations and peoples of the Middle East.
On this historical day, we cannot but remember the memory of the Martyr of Freedom and Dignity, El Wali Moustapha Sayed, and all martyrs of our continuous liberation struggle including the leader of the historic uprising of Zemla, Mohamed Sid-Brahim Basiri and the martyrs of the Independence Uprising Lembarki, Lekhlifi and others.
We would like to express our profound appreciation to the heroes of the Sahrawi People’s Liberation Army, the defenders of the country and the dignity of the people, who continue to guard, as they did in the past, these liberated parts of our homeland. We would also like to salute our heroic people everywhere, particularly the heroes of the Independence Uprising in the occupied territories, in La Aaiun, Smara, Dakhla, Bojador and others, and in southern Morocco in Amhamid Alghezlan, Assa, Tan Tan, Guleimime, Zaq, Asrir, Tarfaya and others.
We also express our appreciation and solidarity with all Sahrawi prisoners of conscience who are held in the jails of occupation, in the Black Prison in the occupied town of La Aaiun, and in Moroccan jails in Agadir, Ait Mellul, Tarudanat, Kouneitira, among others, including Brahim Sabar and his fellows. We renew our call for the need to account for more than 500 civilian disappeared, and 151 Sahrawi POWs who have been held by the Moroccan State since its illegal occupation of our country on 31 October 1975.
We call on all our people in the occupied territories, in Southern Morocco, in the refugee camps and in the liberated zones and on the combatants of the Sahrawi Peoples’ Liberation Army. Let us make of this Congress a great milestone. Let us rise up in dignity and determination to renew our promise made to the martyrs to continue the march towards freedom. Let us prepare for maintaining the liberation struggle by using all legitimate means, for justice is on our side. Let us be prepared to give all sacrifices that may be needed. Let us proceed with caution, vigilance and a strong resolve to strengthen our unity and cohesion, and to intensify our struggle at all levels in order to meet the exigencies and the challenges of our times.
Total Struggle to Impose Sovereignty and Full Independence!