Sahrawi “Ambassador” To President Obama: Press Morocco On U.N.-mandated Referendum For Self-Determination


Mouloud Said is the unofficial Ambassador of the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR, or Western Sahara) to Washington, D.C. Unofficial because the U.S. — unlike almost every African country and many European and South American countries) doesn’t recognize the SADR which has been struggling against Moroccan occupation for decades. After defeating colonizing power Spain and occupiers Mauritania, the Sahrawis through POLISARIO front, its liberation army, previously led an armed struggle against Morocco until a United Nations brokered cease-fire in 1991 which was to be followed by a referendum. SADR is considered to be Africa’s “last colony.” Morocco has blocked the referendum for 25 years now.

Mouloud Said represents the SADR in the United States from 1989 to 2012 and after the last democratic Congress of the Sahrawis — as the people of Western Sahara are known — he was reappointed as representative to the U.S. Previously he was the Ambassador to the African Unión from 1976 to 1986 and from 1986 to 1989 he was the Representative to the United Nations in New New York.

Here’s a Q and A with Ambassador Mouloud Said.

Milton Allimadi: There has been a stalemate in the Western Sahara issue including on the UN mandated referendum for a long time. What are POLISARIO’s key demands as of today?

Mouloud Said: Since early 1960´s the UN had studied the issue of Western Sahara as decolonization issue and since then a score of resolutions were taken by the UN General assembly and the UN Security Council, all reaffirming the right of the Sahrawi people to self-determination.

The key demands of the Polisario today, is mainly one: The exercise by the Sahrawi people to its right of self-determination through a free and fair referéndum organized and supervised by the United Nations in cooperation with the African Unión.

MA: How can the Obama administration and the president himself help in advancing the Western Sahara issue in the remaining time he has in office?

MS: The President of the United States can assist in advancing the final solution by pressuring Morocco to abide by the international legality and accept the democratic solution represented by a free and fair referéndum.

MA: Do you believe there is a solution that is acceptable to the people of Western Sahara that Morocco will also accept given their current positions on the issue?

MS: The only solution acceptable to the People of Western Sahara is the one that results from the free expression of its will.

MA: If you could speak directly to the White House and the U.S. Congress about Western Sahara what would you say?

MS: I will ask them to advance in Western Sahara the values on which the United States was founded, democracy and human rights. To give the Sahrawis just one day to decide their future and meanwhile to ensure that the UN Mission in Western Sahara, Minurso, be mandated with the monitoring of human rights in the territory.

MA: We saw the liberation of South Africa from apartheid, the end of the Cold War, U.S. normalization of relations with China, Vietnam, and Cuba and improved relations with Iran. When will we see the people of Western Sahara realizing self-determination?

MS: We will see the Sahrawi people realizing self-determination when the UN and in in particular the Security Council fulfills its responsibilities by implementing international legality in Western Sahara and by putting an end to the illegal occupation.

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