On behalf of Saharawi civil society organizations – both in the refugee camps and occupied territory – as well as international activist groups and NGOs, we are writing to you in your capacity as President of the UN Security Council, to place on record our strong belief that the status quo in Western Sahara is unacceptable.
We urge the Security Council to live up to its mandate and act to move forward the UN political process toward an acceptable solution that would allow for the Saharawi people to exercise their right to self-determination, in accordance with the UN Charter and numerous resolutions of the UN Security Council and General Assembly. For over forty years now, the people of Western Sahara remain divided between life in unforgiving desert refugee camps or under a brutal Moroccan occupation where they are deprived of basic rights and opportunities. Generations have endured this uprooted existence, growing up and growing old in a limbo perpetuated by global apathy.
TINDOUF, Algeria — The newly elected president of the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR), Brahim Ghali, is calling for a peaceful settlement of its decades-long quest for independence.
In a July 9 election in a Sahrawi refugee camp in Algeria, the indigenous people of the Moroccan-occupied territory in disputed Western Sahara chose Ghali as their president and secretary-general of their liberation movement, the Polisario Front. Ghali replaces longtime leader Mohamed Abdelaziz, who died May 31.
Ghali was one of the front’s founding members. He led the movement’s first military operation against Spain in 1973. In 1991, he began a new career as a diplomat, holding different posts, from Polisario’s representative in Spain to its ambassador in Algeria.
He was sworn in July 9 before an audience that included delegations from Africa, Latin America and Europe. In his first speech as president, Ghali called for a peaceful resolution to the Western Sahara dispute.
“We are advocates of peace and are ready to cooperate with the kingdom of Morocco in order to exploit opportunities for a solution that still exists, which enjoys the consensus of the world, based on respecting the Sahrawi people’s inalienable right to self-determination and independence,” he said.
He explicitly stated that such opportunities might be lost. “It’s an open door toward real peace, and the Moroccan kingdom will bear all consequences when closing it, because the Sahrawi people will relentlessly cling to defending their rights by all means,” Ghali said.