The UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, has called for the self determination for people of Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic, popularly known as Western Sahara, saying their present situation was unacceptable.
This is contained in the main excerpts from Ban’s conference at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Algiers, made available to newsmen by the Algerian Embassy in Abuja.
Ban gave the Saharawi people assurance that the world would not forget their commitment to self determination.
“The world cannot forget the Saharawi people.
“They must enjoy their human rights, their dignity; even a minimum of dignity, I could not find over there (Saharawi).
“They must enjoy, especially, the right to self determination within the framework of a mutually acceptable political agreement’’, he said.
The UN scribe explained that he had three important objectives for his visit to the North African region.
“First, it is to assess the search for settlement on Western Sahara; secondly, to shine a spotlight on the neglected humanitarian tragedy in Western Sahara.
“Thirdly, to pay tribute to the staff of our Mission there, MINURSO (United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara).
“In addition, to encourage MINURSO) to continue their mission even though it may be very difficult,’’ he said.
The UN Secretary-General commended Algeria for its role in Western Sahara to achieve self determination for the Saharawi people.
“This country has played a key role in the Western Sahara issue and I count on the Government of Algeria and its people for their continuous support,’’ Ban said.
Morocco has been under international spotlight over the continued colonisation and subjugation of the people of Saharawi since 1975 when it took it over shortly after Spain left the territory.
It has also refused to honour declarations of international organisations such as the UN and AU to the effect of conducting a referendum and determining the fate of the people.
Morocco presently occupies 80 per cent of Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic endowed with rich resources, leaving 20 per cent desert portion for the owners who have been exiled. (NAN)