The Western Sahara question currently remains unresolved, despite the establishment of a ceasefire in 1991. The real step forward was made by the autonomy plan proposed by Morocco to the Security Council on 11 April 2007. It’s for this reason that in 2007 France voted in favour of UNSCR 1754, which described Morocco’s efforts as serious and credible.
Having said that, the prospects of resolving the conflict – as you, Mr Deputy, have recalled – have not yet become a reality. Francois Fillon had the opportunity to emphasize it at the 10th high-level Franco-Moroccan meeting held in Paris on 2 July: France believes the Moroccan proposal is currently the most pertinent basis for overcoming the deadlock.
It’s for this reason that France has always supported the United Nations mission to organize a referendum in Western Sahara. That mission has not yet concluded and the civilian component responsible for identifying the participants in the referendum has withdrawn. However, the mission continues to fulfil the area of its mandate relating to respect for the ceasefire agreements. In this respect, it plays an essential role.
Regarding the violence which occurred recently in El-Aaiun, France deplored the clashes which took place on 8 November, claiming a dozen lives. Morocco also reacted, announcing the launch of judicial inquiries, and the Moroccan Parliament decided to set up an independent commission of investigation to shed light on the events.
However, one must also note the stigmatization and the unbalanced nature of the reports sometimes put out by the European media on the subject of these clashes. This violence is all the more deserving of condemnation because the talks enabled Morocco and the Polisario Front to agree on 8 November, for the first time since 2008, to discuss their respective proposals.
France places her trust in the UN and in Mr Ross, in particular to find a fair and lasting political solution. We shall make our full contribution to that work./.