Algerian FM Lamamra receives UNSG personal envoy for Western Sahara, latest developments tackled

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ALGIERS- The Minister of Foreign Affairs and National Community Abroad, Ramtane Lamamra, on Monday received UN Secretary General’s personal envoy for Western Sahara, Staffan de Mistura, who is on a visit to Algeria, the ministry said in a statement.

The meeting took place in the presence of the Special Envoy in charge of the question of Western Sahara and the Maghreb countries, Amar Belani. The two parties examined during this meeting “the latest developments of the Sahrawi cause and the prospects for further strengthening UN efforts with a view to resuming direct negotiations between the two parties to the conflict, the Kingdom of Morocco and the Polisario Front, with the objective of reaching a just, long-lasting political solution accepted by both parties, guaranteeing the Saharawi people to exercise their inalienable and imprescriptible right to self-determination, in accordance with the relevant UN resolutions and its doctrine on decolonization,” the ministry statement concluded.

The Personal Envoy of the UN Secretary General for Western Sahara, Staffan de Mistura, began Saturday a two-day visit to the Sahrawi refugee camps as part of “deepening consultations with the parties concerned”, with the aim of reaching a solution to the Sahrawi issue.

Arriving at the refugee camps at dawn, De Mistura met during the first day of visit, the delegation in charge of negotiations composed of the Sahrawi Minister of Cooperation, Fatima al-Mahdi and the representative of the Polisario Front at the UN, Sidi Mohamed Omar, headed by the head of the political organization in the Polisario Front, Khatri Addouh, before meeting face to face with the Sahrawi Prime Minister, Bouchraya Hammoudi Bayoun.

The Italian-Swedish diplomat also met with representatives of Sahrawi youth and a delegation of Sahrawi women, an opportunity to highlight the reality experienced by the Sahrawi woman, especially the repression and abuses they suffer in the territories occupied by Morocco, as well as their role in the struggle for freedom and self-determination.

In this context, the secretary general of the National Union of Sahrawi Women (UNFS), Chaba Seini, indicated that during this meeting, the Sahrawi women expressed their deep concern about the fate of the Sahrawi people who “are still waiting for the intervention of the United Nations to resolve the conflict and decolonize the last colony in Africa, Saying that Sahrawi women remain committed to the right of the people of Western Sahara to self-determination and independence, “Forty-five years of waiting in a state of refugee is an unacceptable thing,” she said. “The UN was supposed to supervise the organization of a referendum on self-determination in Western Sahara,” she added, stressing that “this situation has become unbearable because of the stubbornness of the Moroccan occupier and its policy of headlong rush”.

On the second day, the Personal Envoy was received by the Saharawi President of the Republic, Secretary-General of the Polisario Front, Mr. Brahim Ghali, in his office at the Presidency of the Republic.

Following the meeting, the representative of the Polisario Front at the United Nations and coordinator with MINURSO, Dr. Sidi Mohamed Omar, made a statement to the national and international media, in which he affirmed, “Mr. de Mistura’s visit is his second since taking office, and comes in a distinct circumstance marked by Moroccan intransigence against international legitimacy and its continuous violations in the occupied cities of Western Sahara, direct confrontation with the Moroccan occupation and the resumption of armed struggle”.

The Sahrawi official added, “The Polisario Front is committed to peace, but it is also committed to defending by all legitimate means the right of the Sahrawi people to self-determination and independence,” noting at the same time the readiness of the Polisario Front to cooperate with the United Nations and the Personal Envoy in their efforts to reach a just and lasting peaceful solution based on full respect for the inalienable and uncompromising right of the Sahrawi people to self-determination and independence”.

Will of Sahrawi people, essential reference for resolution of conflict:

Speaking after a meeting with the personal envoy of the UN Secretary-General to Western Sahara, Staffan de Mistura, the Chief of Staff of the Sahrawi Army, Mohamed El-Ouali Akeik, said that “the messages of the Sahrawi Army through this meeting are about the need for the United Nations, the Security Council and the international community to engage in the application of international legality and accelerate the search for a just solution to the conflict in Western Sahara, a solution that guarantees the Sahrawi people’s right to self-determination.

The Chief of Staff of the Sahrawi Army condemned the indifference to the Sahrawi issue, citing the UN which “has failed to meet its responsibilities for thirty years, which has reflected on the Sahrawi people who pay a heavy price because of the stubbornness of the Moroccan occupier, the lack of seriousness on the part of the Security Council, and credibility of the international community in the implementation of the decisions of international legality for the settlement of the conflict in the last colony in Africa.

“The UN is fully aware of the violations committed in Western Sahara against defenseless Sahrawi civilians. It is also aware of the developments of the ongoing war in the region since November 13, 2020 through MINURSO,” he added.

Referring to his meeting with Mr. de Mistura, he affirmed it had allowed “to pass important messages to the UN, including the Security Council, on the denial of the right of the Sahrawi people to freedom and independence, the lack of a real reaction from the international community, as well as the unacceptable treatment reserved to Morocco.

The talks with the personal envoy of the UN Secretary-General to Western Sahara took place in the presence of the commander of the sixth military region, Aba Ali Hamoudi and the central director of the political commissariat of the Sahrawi Liberation Army, Youcef Ahmed Salem.

In January, the UN Secretary-General’s Personal Envoy for Western Sahara, Staffan de Mistura, made his first visit to the region since his appointment last October, against the backdrop of the Polisario Front’s reaffirmation of its position in favor of a political solution based on a self-determination referendum.

After starting his journey in Morocco, one of the two parties to the conflict, on January 13, the Italian-Swedish diplomat, whose main mission is to relaunch the political process in Western Sahara, visited the Sahrawi refugee camps on 15 and 16 of the same month, where he met with several officials of the Polisario Front, the sole legitimate representative of the Saharawi people.

Sahrawi officials reaffirmed their commitment to “full national independence,” stressing that “the referendum remains an acceptable median solution.

In July, the Polisario Front strongly denounced the Moroccan occupier’s ban on Mr de Mistura making his first visit to the occupied Saharawi territories, and deplored Rabat’s “total lack of political will to engage constructively” in the UN-sponsored peace process in Western Sahara.

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