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Cablegate: Unga: Morocco and Algeria Agree On Consensus

VZCZCXYZ0000
OO RUEHWEB

DE RUCNDT #0865/01 2882000
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 152000Z OCT 07
FM USMISSION USUN NEW YORK
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 2784
INFO RUEHGG/UN SECURITY COUNCIL COLLECTIVE IMMEDIATE
RUEHAS/AMEMBASSY ALGIERS IMMEDIATE 1409
RUEHMD/AMEMBASSY MADRID IMMEDIATE 6262
RUEHNK/AMEMBASSY NOUAKCHOTT IMMEDIATE 0091
RUEHRB/AMEMBASSY RABAT IMMEDIATE 1025
RUEHCL/AMCONSUL CASABLANCA IMMEDIATE 0492

UNCLAS USUN NEW YORK 000865

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PGOV UNGA WI MO
SUBJECT: UNGA: MOROCCO AND ALGERIA AGREE ON CONSENSUS
WESTERN SAHARA RESOLUTION


1. Summary. The UNGA Fourth Committee adopted its resolution
on the Western Sahara by consensus October 15 following
Moroccan-Algerian agreement on its text, which showcases
support for the negotiating process launched in April,
features constructive ambiguity on self-determination, and
eschews any characterization of the Moroccan autonomy plan
(see para 9). The emergence of a consensus resolution is a
surprising, but welcome, development that contrasts with the
hard-line positions that both parties had expressed in their
position papers and opening statements. Despite this
development, we doubt that either side has abandoned the core
of its position; more likely, neither wants to complicate the
next MINURSO renewal and both may find it convenient to kick
the overall issue down the road. End Summary.

2. The UNGA Fourth Committee adopted an Algerian draft
resolution on the Question of Western Sahara by consensus
October 15 (text in para 6). The agreement on the text,
reached by Morocco and Algeria on October 11, the eve of Eid
al-Fitr, surprised most delegations, given the positions of
Algeria and Morocco only three days earlier at the beginning
of a five-day debate on the Western Sahara. In position
papers handed out prior to the start of the debate and in
their opening statements, both Morocco and Algeria had
established firm and opposing positions on what would
constitute an acceptable text.

3. In its October 8 intervention, Morocco had insisted that
any acceptable resolution must reflect recent developments,
especially its submission of an autonomy proposal in April,
that it avoid jeopardizing the current dynamics or altering
the terms of reference of the ongoing negotiations, that it
be in compliance with the terms and spirit of UNSCR 1754
(that it recognize its preference for the Moroccan proposal
as a basis for negotiations); and that it avoid legitimizing
rigid positions and consecrating outdated proposals (that it
drop references to the Baker Plan). Algeria, in its October
8 intervention, had stressed its continuing support for the
Baker Plan approved by UNSCR 1495, underscored the principle
of self-determination as the ultimate essential purpose of
UNSCR 1754, which launched Western Sahara negotiations in
April, and declared that the unconditional negotiations
called for by UNSCR 1754 had negated any claim of the parties
to predetermine the basis of the negotiations.

4. Two lively rounds of rights of replies following opening
statements seemed to deepen the potential divide between the
Morocco and Algerian positions. In its right of reply,
Morocco accused Algeria of "not evolving" with the times,
instead continuing to impede solutions, asserted that the
Polisario Front has never been the sole voice of the Sahrawis
and that most Sahrawi do not live in camps but in "Southern
Morocco," and insisted that its autonomy proposal was the
legitimate proposal within the "hierarchy of proposals"
accepted by UNSCR 1754. Algeria, in turn, characterized
Morocco's claim for its proposal as "a very selective
reading," insisted that UNSCR 1754 takes into account both
the Moroccan and the Polisario proposals on a basis of
equality, noted that the Polisario is the representative of
the Western Sahara, and suggested that Morocco fears a
referendum -- this being the only reason Morocco would not
support a true exercise of self-determination.

5. Despite these publicly proclaimed differences, Algerian
and Moroccan negotiating teams took up an initial Algerian
draft and hammered out an agreed text over three days of
negotiations. The final text satisfies the Moroccan
preference that the reference to the Baker Plan (UNSCR 1495)
in last year's resolution be removed from the operative
paragraphs and replaced with reference to UNSCR 1754, as well
as its preference that characterization of UNSCR 1495 in the
preambular section of last year's resolution ("...1495 (2003)
of 31 July 2003, in which the Council expressed its support
of the peace plan for self-determination of the people of
Western Sahara as an optimum political solution on the basis
of agreement between the two parties...") be deleted. For
its part, Algeria was satisfied that Morocco did not insist
on including references to the UNSCR 1754 language that
termed the Moroccan proposal to be "serious and credible."

6. Apparently the key to the agreement was the preambular
language offered by Morocco: "Recognizing that all available
options for self-determination of the Territories are valid
as long as they are in accordance with the freely expressed
wishes of the peoples concerned and in conformity with the
clearly defined principles contained in General Assembly


resolutions 1524 (XV) of 14 December 1960, 1541 (XV) of 15
December 1960 and other resolutions of the General
Assembly...." This language would seem to provide Morocco
support for its insistence that its autonomy plan provides
the exercise of self-determination required by UN
resolutions. At the same time, the language provides
Polisario negotiators support for their insistence that
Morocco agree to discuss their proposal in future
negotiations.

7. Some 47 petitioners and ten countries addressed the Fourth
Committee on the Western Sahara during the five days of
debate, none breaking any new ground. Of the 47 petitioners,
36 spoke in support of the Polisario position of
self-determination and a referendum with independence as an
option. Many referred to Morocco as an "occupying power" and
called upon the Fourth Committee to act to halt "human rights
violations" in the Western Sahara. Petitioners speaking on
behalf of the Moroccan position focused on the suffering and
mistreatment of Polisario refugees in camps in Algeria and
questioned the extent to which the Polisario really
represents the Sahrawis, the majority of whom still live in
the Western Sahara.

8. Comment: We will be seeking out the Moroccan and Algerian
delegations and the Polisario representatives in New York to
determine what lay behind the ability of the Moroccans and
Algerians to reconcile seemingly irreconcilable positions in
agreeing on a consensus text. Both delegations decided to
keep the focus on the ongoing negotiating process instead of
trying to score points against each other, but we doubt that
either side has abandoned the core of its position as
expressed at the beginning of the debate. It is more likely
that Morocco and Algeria did not want to complicate the next
MINURSO renewal, but that, as the negotiations move toward a
third round, Morocco and the Polisario, with Algeria behind
it, will interpret the present resolution in their own favor.
Many observers view the current posture of the parties as
one of kicking the issues down the road, permitting the
Moroccans to create more facts on the ground while allowing
the Polisario and Algeria to await a shift in the politics
that surround these issues.

9. Consensus text of "Question of Western Sahara" follows.
Begin Text:

The General Assembly,

Having considered in depth the question of Western Sahara,

Reaffirming the inalienable right of all peoples to
self-determination and independence, in accordance with the
principles set forth in the Charter of the United Nations and
General Assembly resolution 1514 (XV) of 14 December 1960
containing the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to
Colonial Countries and Peoples,

Recognizing that all available options for self-determination
of the Territories are valid as long as they are in
accordance with the freely expressed wishes of the people
concerned and in conformity with the clearly defined
principles contained in General Assembly resolutions 1524
(XV) of 15 December 1960 and 1541 (XV) of 15 December 1960
and other resolutions of the General Assembly,

Recalling its resolution 60/114 of 8 December 2005,

Recalling also all resolutions of the General Assembly and
the Security Council on the question of Western Sahara,

Recalling further Security Council resolutions 658 (1990) of
27 June 1990, 690 (1991) of 29 April 1991, 1359 (2001) of 29
June 2001, 1429 (2002) of 30 July 2002, 1495 (2003) of 31
July 2003, 1541 (2004) of 29 April 2004, 1570 (2004) of 28
October 2004, 1598 (2005) of 28 April 2005, 1634 (2005) of 28
October 2005, 1675 (2006) of 28 April 2006 and 1720 (2006) of
31 October 2006,

Welcoming the adoption of Security Council resolution 1754
(2007) on 30 April 2007,

Expressing its satisfaction that the parties have met on 18
and 19 June and on 10 and 11 August 2007 under the auspices
of the Personal Envoy of the Secretary-General and in the
presence of the neighboring countries and that they have
agreed to continue the negotiations,

Calling upon all the parties and the States of the region to
cooperate fully with the Secretary-General and his Personal
Envoy and with each other,

Reaffirming the responsibility of the United Nations towards
the people of Western Sahara,

Welcoming in this regard the efforts of the Secretary-General
and his Personal Envoy in search of a mutually acceptable
political solution to the dispute, which will provide for the
self-determination of the people of Western Sahara,

Having examined the relevant chapter of the report of the
Special Committee on the Situation with regard to the
Implementation of the Declaration on the Granting of
Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples,

Having also examined the report of the Secretary-General

1. Takes note of the report of the Secretary-General,

2. Supports strongly Security Council resolution 1754 (2007),
by which the Council called upon the parties to enter into
negotiations without preconditions in good faith, taking into
account the developments of the last months, with a view to
achieving a just, lasting and mutually acceptable political
solution, which will provide for the self-determination of
the people of Western Sahara;

3. Welcomes the ongoing negotiations between the parties held
on 18 and 19 June and on 10 and 11 August 2007 in the
presence of the neighboring countries under the auspices of
the United Nations;

4. Commends the efforts undertaken by the Secretary-General
and his Personal Envoy for the implementation of Security
Council resolution 1754 (2007) and encourages the parties to
continue to show political will and a spirit of cooperation
in supporting those efforts and to create a propitious
atmosphere for dialogue and the success of the negotiations;

5. Calls upon the parties to cooperate with the International
Committee of the Red Cross and calls upon them to abide by
their obligations under international humanitarian law;

6. Requests the Special Committee on the Situation with
regard to the Implementation of the Declaration on the
Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples to
continue to consider the situation in Western Sahara and to
report thereon to the General Assembly at its sixty-third
session;

7. Invites the Secretary-General to submit to the General
Assembly at its sixty-third session a report on the
implementation of the present resolution.
End Text.
KHALILZAD

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