A former Moroccan minister has responded to John Bolton’s statements over the Western Sahara in which the American official expressed his “frustration” over the UN’s failure to end the conflict.
Secretary General of Morocco’s Istiqlal Party Nizar Baraka has addressed a letter to the US national security adviser, John Bolton who said in keynote speech at the Heritage Foundation on December 13 that he was concerned and “frustrated” that the territorial conflict in Western Sahara conflict has still not been resolved.
Baraka, who also served as a minister of Finance and Economy, said that that he shared the same “sense of frustration” expressed by Bolton, “but not for the same reasons.”
“For Moroccans, our frustration is deeper as it extends for more than 62 years, because the independence granted to Morocco in March 1956 was a limited independence, so we continued to struggle to complete the territorial integrity of our country, to include our Sahara regions,” Baraka added.
The former minister added that Morocco is frustrated to see that the “Moroccan Sahara issue is still stalling in the corridors of the United Nations, despite the historical facts that prove the spiritual, cultural, political and administrative ties that have always connected the inhabitants of the southern provinces to the kingdom of Morocco.”
Baraka said that Morocco is “really frustrated” as the international community gives the Polisario Front more worth than deserved regarding the representation of the Sahrawi people.
He added that censuses made under the auspices of the UN “confirmed that the vast majority of Sahrawis live in Morocco’s territories.”
“The real representatives of the people of the Sahara are the elected [ Saharawis] in the local and regional councils and parliamentarians, who were democratically elected,” he said.
Commenting on Morocco’s autonomy plan, Baraka said that Moroccans are frustrated that the Moroccan initiative which presents a mutually acceptable political solution has not seen the light 11 years after it was submitted to the United Nations.
Baraka also condemned the living conditions in Tindouf camps in Algeria, where thousands of Sahrawis live in “unbearable conditions.”
Baraka said that Sahrawis who live in “poverty” in the Tindouf camps are “deprived of their right to freedom of movement, because despite the resolutions of the United Nations and the Security Council, UNHCR has not yet been able to conduct a census” of the Sahrawi population living there.
During his address at the Heritage Foundation, Bolton criticized the UN peacekeeping mission for have failing to fulfill their mandates, including the UN mission in Western Sahara, also known as MINURSO.
“Ladies and gentlemen, 27 years of deployment of this peacekeeping force, 27 years and it’s still there? How can you justify that? I have got to know over the years the Saharawi people, I have enormous respect for them, I have enormous respect for the government and people of Morocco and Algeria, is there not a way to resolve it?” Bolton said.