Mustapha El Khalfi : «Algeria must shoulder its responsibilities regarding the Sahara conflict»

Minister delegate for relations with parliament and civil society, and the government spokesperson attended Saturday in Laayoune a conference organized by the Forum of international alternatives. Yabiladi’s team was there and had the chance to ask Mustapha El Khalfi about the situation in the Sahara.

Mustapha El Khalfi, Minister delegate for relations with parliament and civil society, government spokesperson./Ph. Mehdi Moussahim-Yabiladi
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The Moroccan government has denounced the presence of the Polisario’s armed elements in the buffer zones… 

Morocco took a firm stance when it learned about the Polisario’s plan to change the legal and historical status of the areas east of the berm. Motion detection showed that the separatist front was planning to establish a permanent military and civilian presence in the buffer zones, which was confirmed by the photos taken by satellite.

The Polisario tried to transfer its «Ministry of Defense» to Bir Lahlou where it received some ambassadors. It also refused to meet with the head of the MINURSO in Rabouni. But finally the Front was forced to receive the official in Tindouf. 

This is not the first time that Morocco faces such incursions ?

All these areas are part of the Moroccan soil. The entire eastern area surrounding the berm is Moroccan. The security wall is not to be taken as Morocco’s borders. The United Nations has never considered that wall as a tool to separate Morocco from another entity.

And this is not the first time that Morocco is witnessing a similar crisis with the Polisario. In the past and starting from 1991 Morocco had to firmly face different incursions. At the time we urged the Security Council to shoulder its responsibilities and warned that Morocco would take the necessary measures to stop the Front’s attempts to change the areas’ status.

In 1995, the Front tried in vain to take over the buffer zones. An attempt that was mentioned in the UN Secretary General's reports. In 2002, the separatist movement tried to make the camp’s population settle down in these territories, which was rejected.

Today, our position is crystal clear and we have informed the UN and the World’s powerful states about it. We handed them over the satellite images showing the incursions and we had called on the Security Council to act accordingly.

We are determined to stop any attempt willing to change the political and historical status of the security wall. And as we have said before, the Polisario’s maneuvers are a violation of the cease-fire, and a threat to peace that challenges the Security Council’s resolutions.

Morocco, announced that any solution that threatens its sovereignty would be invalid. Algeria and the other parties, contributing to the conflict, must be involved in the settlement process. Algeria is responsible for what is going on today, simply because it is the one financing the Front.

So there will be no negotiations without the contribution of Algeria ?

In this respect, our position is clear. Algeria is to be taken responsible for this conflict and its escalation and it must therefore assume its responsibility in its settlement.

But Algeria does not stop repeating that it is not part of this …

Algeria is part of the conflict. This is reflected in its positions made public during several international meetings. The Algerian brothers must assume their responsibilities in finding a solution to this conflict.

How do you evaluate the report of Antonio Guterres on the Sahara ?

It's a balanced report. It agreed with our country on a number of issues and exposed many false allegations circulated through a media campaign launched against Morocco, claiming that direct negotiations are taking place. However, we still believe that the UN and the Security Council must meet their promises and assure the settlement of this conflict.

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