Rabat - Morocco's Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the UN Omar Hilale delivered the details of the new resolution of the UN Security Council on the Question of the Western Sahara at a press conference yesterday in the United Nations.
Rabat – Morocco’s Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the UN Omar Hilale delivered the details of the new resolution of the UN Security Council on the Question of the Western Sahara at a press conference yesterday in the United Nations.
Hilale did not mince his words: “There will be no political process for the settlement of the Sahara issue if there is any one trace of the Polisario in Guerguarat.”
As Morocco welcomed the unanimous adoption on Friday of UN Security Council resolution 2351 extending the mandate of MINURSO for one more year until April 30, 2018, Hilale stressed how this decision “pays tribute to Morocco’s actions while at the same time makes the other parties accountable and enjoins them to comply with international law.”
The ambassador addressed an ultimatum to the Polisario, calling them to remove any trace of the front from Guerguerat. “We do not want the Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO) and the Minurso to endorse deception and cheating,” he said, stressing that the first version of the Security Council resolution condemned the Polisario, pushing the front to finally withdraw from the zone to avoid a sanction.
For the first time in nine years, the text has “strengthened the paragraph relating to the registration and census of the populations of Tindouf camps, demanding that efforts be made to this end,” added Hilale. The diplomat stressed that the resolution calls on the neighboring countries and particularly Algeria to “not to shirk away from their responsibility in this matter.”
Hilale also addressed the departure of the personal envoy of the Secretary General for the Western Sahara Christopher Ross who resigned from his functions. “For us, Christopher Ross is the man of the past,” said Hilale, adding the Ross “has been the best diplomat Algeria has ever had during the last forty years.”
Asked about the possible appointment of Germany’s Horst Köhler as Ross’s successor, Hilale replied, “We have nothing against Germany, with which Morocco has excellent bilateral, economic, political, and cultural relations. And we have nothing against any former German Head of State.”
In fact, all along the press conference, Hilale didn’t shy away from speaking his mind to some of the journalists whose questions betrayed an unfriendliness towards Morocco.
One of the highlights of the conference were the heated exchanges between Hilale and a journalist from Algeria’s Service Press, who asked the Ambassador on his opinion about the Rif Independence Movement, calling some of the Rif regions “occupied territories.”
Hilale’s answer was very clear and to the point: “All those who have different opinions from those of the government, are free to express them. The Rif people have been speaking their minds for everyday now without being attacked or imprisoned.”
“That is not the case in Algeria,” Hilale pointed out, adding that in Morocco’s eastern neighbor “people die by the dozens if not the hundreds and disappear every day.”
The Ambassador explained to the journalist the difference between the two countries. “The difference between the Rif and the Kabils is that in Algeria the death tolls are counted by the hundreds, while in Morocco, people are free to speak their mind safely,” he said.
“In Morocco we have freedom of speech, freedom of movement and freedom of assembly. In Morocco all those who speak freely do so in the respect of the constitution,” Omar Hilale added.