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LETTERFROMTHESECRETARYGENERAL HonorableDelegates, I am YahyaBerkol GLGE and it is my honor and pleasure to welcome you to EuroAsia 2011conference.IamagraduateofAnkaraUniversity,FacultyofLawandhavebeenparticipating inMUNconferencesforalmosttenyearsnow.Hopefully,wewillallrememberthisconferenceas afruitfulandjoyfulexperience.

The age of colonilazation is long gone; nevertheless, the problems and conflicts it left behind still persists. The United Nations perceives Western Sahara as the last trace of colonilazation in the world. It is possible to disagree with this opinion. A former colony of Spain, nowadays controlled by Morocco, Western Sahara is a topic discussed by the UN and the African Union numerous times. Despite these efforts, the problem is still unresolved. Consequently, Western Sahara sits before us as the perfect selection for General Assembly 4, Special, Political andDecolonizationCommitteetopic. It will not be challenging for delegates to find resources on the topic should you feel that further research beyond the study guide as countless documents are already available on the internet. Still, I believe that the study guide will provide you with most of the information required. Second point to indicate would be the necessity of researching for the country policies as there are many African countries supporting one of the opposing parties to the conflict. Make sure that you stick to your country policies and try to act accordingly while debating on possible outcomesofthecommittee.

Thanking to the creators of the study Guide, my undersecretary generals BetlBodur and OkyanusAkn,fortheirworkIwouldliketodeclaremyexcitementbeforemeetingyouinperson. AlltheBest, YahyaBerkolGLGE SecretaryGeneralofEuroAsia2011 LETTERSFROMTHEUNDERSECRETARYGENERALS DearDelegates, I would like to welcome you to the Special, Political and Decolonization Committee of EuroAsiaMUN2011TrainingandDevelopmentConference. My name is BetlBodur. Im a sophomore at Ankara University Faculty of Law. I participated in MUN conferences as a delegate, and this year for the first time, I am a member of the academic team. This years SPECPOL committee will discuss The Question of Western Sahara, which has been under the focus of the United Nations for over three decades due to its unique status. The topic is also crucial as the United Nations enters Third Decade of Eradication of Colonization and the territory is perceived as the last colony in Africa. General Assembly Fourth Committee will handle the situation mainly from the referendum disputes perspective; opposing fronts of which are, Morocco and the Frente POLISARIO. Delegates are expected to propose a comprehensive method for the organization of a referendum. The Committee will also analyze the human rights aspectofthequestion.

I believe you will enjoy the conference, since the topic includes many features to be solved. Regards, BetlBodur UnderSecretaryGeneralforLegalandSPECPOLCommittees Hello, I am Okyanus Akn, one of the Under SecretariesGeneral responsible for the Special Political and Decolonization Committee (SPECPOL) of EuroAsia 2011. I study International Relations at Middle East Technical University; but currently I am continuing my studies at the University of Leeds as an Erasmus exchange student. Since my high school years, I have been involved in MUN conferences and related activities both as a delegate and a committee director for several times. However, this is the first time that I have the pleasure of acting as an Under SecretaryGeneralwiththeteamofYahyaBerkolGlge,theSecretaryGeneral. In choosing the Question of Western Sahara as the agenda item for SPECPOL, our teams main focus was on the fact that this issue has become one of the particular ones covered by the Fourth Committee and not been solved thus far since the day it was adopted into its agenda. In forming this studyguide with my fellow BetlBodur, we tried to be as comprehensive as possible soastoaddresstheverymultidimensionalaspectsoftheQuestionsuchasthosestemmingfrom political claims over the Territory, individual concerns for natural resources and also overlapping yetdivergentambitionscausedbydifferentpoliticalanddiplomaticbenefits.

I believe through dealing with this demanding item, you will have the chance to acquire the skills needed by an MUN delegate basically because of the fact that the issue of Western Sahara can be taken as a longlasting one that can only be tackled through cooperation, compromise and persuasion. In addition, through participating in EuroAsia, you can also use the opportunitytogetpreparedforMUNTRthatwillbeevenmoredemandingandcompetitive. Iwishyouhaveaverysuccessfulandgratifyingexperience. Peace, OkyanusAkin UnderSecretaryGeneral

GENERALASSEMBLYFOURTHCOMMITTEE:SPECIALPOLITICALANDDECOLONIZATION THEQUESTIONOFWESTERNSAHARA HISTORYOFTHECOMMITTEE Following the establishment of the United Nations in 1945, the Fourth Committee of the GeneralAssemblyonSpecialPoliticalandDecolonization(SPECPOL)wasestablishedinitiallyasad hoc organ to deal with the problems of decolonization and selfdetermination in thethen global contextwhilstaconsiderableamountofregionshadbeenremainingundercolonialpossession,as well as to alleviate the work load of and resolve political issues not discussed by the First Committee,Disarmament and International SecurityCommittee(DISEC). The Committee became apermanentoneundertheGeneralAssemblyin1978.

AspartoftheGeneralAssembly,theFourthCommitteemay; Consider and make recommendations on the general principles of cooperation for maintaininginternationalpeaceandsecurity,includingdisarmament; Discuss any question relating to international peace and security and, except where a dispute or situation is currently being discussed by the Security Council, make recommendationsonit; Discuss, with the same exception, and make recommendations on any questions within the scope of the Charter or affecting the powers and functions of any organ of the United Nations; Initiate studies and make recommendations to promote international political cooperation, the development and codification of international law, the realization of human rights and fundamental freedoms, and international collaboration in the economic, social, humanitarian,cultural,educationalandhealthfields; Make recommendations for the peaceful settlement of any situation that might impair friendlyrelationsamongnations. Today, the SPECPOL deals with a variety of subjects which include those still related to decolonization, Palestinian refugees and human rights, peacekeeping, mine action, peaceful uses of outer space, public information and atomic radiation. Other than these general subject that have been covered by the Fourth Committee as if they have been adopted as themes of the sessions, recently in the 66th Session, SPECPOL has produced draft resolutions and decisions on, such as, Israeli Practices Affecting Human Rights of the Palestinian People (A/C.4/66/L.13), the

Occupied Syrian Golan (A/C.4/66/L.17), Effects of atomic radiation (A/C.4/66/L.7), Persons displaced as a result of the June 1967 and subsequent hostilities (A/C.4/66/L.10), Question of Western Sahara (A/C.4/66/L.5) as to be discussed by the SPECPOL at EuroAsia, Question of Gibraltar(A/C.4/66/L.4)andsoon. ThecurrentChairoftheFourthCommitteeoftheGeneralAssemblyinits66thsessionisRomania. INTRODUCTION A former colony of Spain from the 19th Century until 1975, Western Sahara is a disputed territoryinNorthAfricasurroundedbyMorocco,AlgeriaandMauritania. This dispute has been one of the persistent ones dealt with by the United Nations (UN) since 1963 when Western Sahara was recognised as a nonselfgoverning territory by the UN in accordance with General Assembly (GA) Resolution 1514 (XV) of 14 December 1960. The UNs involvement in the Western Sahara issue furthered on December 16, 1965, when the General Assembly adopted its first resolution on what was then called Spanish Sahara, requesting Spain to take all necessary measures to decolonize the territory, while entering into negotiations on problems relating to sovereignty. Following this situation, Spain was firstly asked to decolonise theterritoryin1965andtoorganiseareferendumonselfdeterminationin1966bytheUN. The abandonment of the administrative control of Western Sahara by Spain to the joint administrationbyMoroccoandMauritaniain1975wasensuedbyawarbetweentheseactorsand the POLISARIO Front, which has been recommended as the representative of the people of Western Sahara (GA 34th Session/37), proclaiming Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR). Eventually, Morocco asserted its control over and annexed the northern twothirds of Western Sahara in 1976 and claimed the rest in 1979 with major natural resources after Mauritania had withdrawn. A guerrilla war between Morocco and the Polisario Front ended with the ceasefire agreementbrokeredbytheUNin1991.Sincethen,WesternSaharahasbeencontrolledmostlyby

Moroccowhereas,backedbyAlgeria,theSADRcontrolstheremainder. However, many neighboring states reject Moroccan administration of Western Sahara. Several states have created diplomatic ties to the "Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic" represented by the Polisario Front in exile in Algeria, while others recognize Moroccan sovereignty over Western Sahara. The UN has been sponsoring talks between Morocco and the Polisario front over the negotiations for the status of Western Sahara. However, the UN organized referendum on the territory's final status has been recurrently postponed. Whereas Morocco has been trying to maintain Moroccan sovereignty with an autonomy proposal for the territory, the POLISARIO has been after a popular referendum including the option of independence. MilestonesTimeline During the Berlin Conference in 18841885, Spain was recognised as the colonial power of presentday Western Sahara consideredasresnulliusnobodysproperty. 1960s: In 1963, UN Special Committee on Decolonisation declared Western Sahara a nonselfgoverning territory to be decolonized. In 1965, the UNGA adopted its first resolution on Western Sahara, requesting Spain to decolonise the Territory (A/RES/2072(XX)). In 1966, the UNGA requested Spain to organize a referendumunderUNsupervisiononselfdetermination.

1970s: In 1973, with the purpose of obtaining independence for Western Sahara, FrentePopular deLiberacin deSagua el Hamra yRo deOro, the POLISARIO was founded in Marutania. In 1975, the International Court of Justice published its advisory opinion on the status oftheTerritorybeforecolonizationbySpain.:theCourthasnotfoundlegaltiesofsuchnature as might affect the application of resolution 1514 (XV) in the decolonisation of Western Sahara and, in particular, of the principle of selfdetermination through the free and genuine expression of the will of the peoples of the Territory. Again in 1975, Spain agreed to cede administrative control of the Territory to Morocco (northern twothirds) and Mauritania (southern third), after a transitional tripartite administration period and officially withdrew from the Territory in 1976. In thesameyearPOLISARIOproclaimedtheSADRandMoroccoandMauritaniadividedtheTerritory, where Mauritania received the southern third and Morocco the northern two thirds. The then Organisation of African Unitys (OAU) proposal for a ceasefire and a referendum was rejected by Morocco in 1979. In August 1979, Morocco took control of most of the southern part of the TerritorypreviouslyoccupiedbyMauritania. 1980s: In 1980, Morocco began constructing the first of a series of defensive sand walls stretching over 2,400 km in order to protect the Western part of the Territory. After formally applying for membership in the OAU in the same year, the SADR is admitted to membershipintheOAUin1981followedby

Morocco,firstly,suspendingitsparticipaitonintheOrganisaitonand,then,withdrawingfromthe OAU in 1984. In the period between 1985 1988 the Settlemen Proposals presented by the UN andtheOAUwereexaminedanddidbecomeknownasSettlementPlan. 1990s: In 1990, United Nations Mission for the organization of a Referndum in Western Sahara, MINURSO, was established by the Security Council resolution S/1991/690. The Mission is mandated to implement the Settlement Plan: monitor the ceasefire, identify eligible voters for participation in the referendum, and create the conditions and modalities for the supervision and conductofthereferendum.In1991,MoroccoandthePOLISARIOsuspendmilitaryoperationswith the ceasefire agreement announced by the then UN SecretaryGeneral Javier Prez de Cullar. In 1997, James Baker, the then then Personal Envoy of the UN SecretaryGeneral for Western Sahara mediates the Houston Accords, which define the compilation procedures for the electoral body, troopconfinement,refugeerepatriationandacodeofconductforthereferendum. 2000s: The Baker Peace Plan, Baker Plan I envisaging the integration, with a degree of autonomy, of the Territory within Morocco, was submitted and, however, rejected by the POLISARIO in 2001. In 2002, four options regarding the situation of the Territory was put forward totheSecurityCouncilbytheUNSecretaryGeneralKofiAnnan: 1. ImplementationofSettlementPlanwithoutconcurrenceoftheparties; 2. RevisionofFrameworkAgreement; 3. ExplorepossibledivisionoftheTerritorybetweenthetwoparties; 4. Termination of MINURSO, acknowledging that the UN cannot resolve the problem withoutrequiringoneofthepartiestodosomethingitdoesnotwanttodo.

However, the Security Council did not endorse any of these four options. In 2003, the SecretaryGeneralpresentedanotherPeacePlan,namelytheBakerPlanII(S/2003/565),supported bytheSecurityCouncil,providingfortheselfdeterminationofthepeopleofWesternSaharaafter a threeyear period of provisional administration by a governing body and the residents in the Territory since 1999 to choose among independence, integration or autonomy within Morocco. It was accepted by the POLISARIO. In 2004, Morocco rejected the Baker Plan II by placing various limitations on it such as rejecting the transition arrangements and the option of independence. In April2007MoroccosubmitteditsautonomyplanforWesternSaharaentitled"MoroccanInitiative forNegotiatinganAutonomyStatutefortheSaharaRegion"totheSecretaryGeneral.POLISARIO also presented to the SecretaryGeneral a "Proposal for a Mutually Acceptable Political Solution that Provides for the SelfDeterminationof the People of Western Sahara."In the talks of June 2007, the POLISARIO stated its readiness to consider the Moroccan autonomy plan, but obviously continuedtoinsistonareferendumonselfdetermination,includingtheoptionofindependence. Moroccoseemedreadytoofferselfdeterminationonlybasedonautonomy.However,evenafter the third round talks between Morocco and the POLISARIO in 2008, there was no progress on confidencebuilding measures, but there were preliminary discussions on thematic subjects, including administration, competencies and institutions. After the fourth round of talks in the same year, Morocco made a statement that the choice was not between autonomy and independence but between autonomy and status quo with regard to its territorial integrity. Following the European Union (EU) summit with Morocco in Spain in 2010 emphasising the EU supported UN efforts on Western Sahara, MINURSOs mandate was renewed until 2011, and againin2011,themandatewasextendeduntil30April2012.InJune2011,partiestotheconflict

metfortheseventhroundofinformaltalksandfortheeighthroundinJulydiscussingthetwoon the issue of the electoral corps, mechanisms for selfdetermination, and the forms of guarantees. ThereisstillalackofprogressovertheWesternSaharaconflict. OPPOSINGFRONTS:THEFRENTEPOLISARIOANDMOROCCO Western Sahara saw acts of violence as Moroccan security forces forcibly dismantled a Sahrawi protest camp near the Moroccanadministered regional capital, Laayoune (Arieff, 2011) on 8 November 2010. While Moroccan authorities deny the responsibility of the incidents, they alsoclaimthattheFrentePopulardeLiberaciondeSaguiaelHamrayRiodeOro(POLISARIO)has organized them. This is only one particular example of the ongoing dispute between two sides, and the international community is convinced that it will continue in the foreseeable future. Only two months later, the popular upheavals of the Arab Spring began sweeping across North Africa and the Middle East, including liberalization reforms in Morocco. Nevertheless, the talks between the Frente POLISARIO and Morocco were relatively unaffected by these events as they continued atregularintervalsandremaineddeadlocked(MissonNotes,2011). Western Sahara has been under the occupation by Morocco since 1975, after the withdrawal of former colonial power, Spain, and shortly after the International Court of Justice (ICJ) had rejected both Moroccos and Mauritanias territorial claims. As mentioned in the previous section, Mauritania has abandoned its claims in the year 1976. As, the ICJ advisory opinion goes, Having considered this evidence and the observations of the other States which took part in the proceedings, the Court finds that neither the internal nor the international acts relied upon by Morocco indicate the existence at the relevant period of either the existence or the internationalrecognitionoflegaltiesofterritorialsovereigntybetweenWesternSaharaandthe

Moroccan State.(http://www.icj

cij.org/docket/index.php?sum=323&code=sa&p1=3&p2=4&case=61&k=69&p3=5) it is obvious that international laws position is a benefit for the Frente POLISARIO. Although there is an ICJ opinion, the uncompromising stance of both sides has made Western Sahara, the question of the pastthreedecades. Ononeside,thereisMorocco;whichisdeterminedtoclaimtheautonomyofWesternSahara within its borders and which insiststhatthequestion ofWesternSaharaisaninternalissueanda reason of conflict between itself and Algeria. Actually, Morocco has initiated a large scale settlement policy in Western Saharan cities such as Laayone and considers them as Moroccan provinces. And despite the fact that the Western Saharan conflict has been a financial burden to Morocco, this has not undermined its firm commitment to the marocanity of Sahara. On the other side there is the Frente POLISARIO which has dedicated its acts towards the establishment of an independent Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR). In this section the positions of the two fronts through the policies of the United Nations and the role of third parties will be discussed. 1. UnitedNationsinWesternSahara The UN, from the very beginning of the dispute has been contributing to the solution process of the question of Western Sahara, since the Spanish withdrawal. Each secretary general has focused on this problem during their terms by appointing a special representative solely for WesternSahara.AswellastheSecurityCouncil,theGeneralAssemblyhasalsoputgreat

emphasis on the problem and the fourth committee has taken the question as one of its agenda items. The year 2011 is also the year that the United Nations has entered the Third Decade of Eradication of Colonization. Western Sahara, which is claimed to be the last piece of land of colonialism in Africa is therefore of great importance. Besides the ultimate goal of the United Nations that is decolonization and selfdetermination of the last sixteen nonselfgoverning territoriesonearth,whichWesternSaharaislistedunder,inthissubsectionothermajoreffortsof the UN will be explained in topics of MINURSO, Baker Plan and the final status of the two opposingsides. a. United Nations Mission For the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO): The SettlementProposalsandEstablishment In 1985, the United Nations Secretary General, in cooperation with the Organization of African Unity (OAU), initiated a mission of good offices leading to the settlement proposals, whichwereacceptedon30August1988bothbyMoroccoandtheFrentePOLISARIO.In1990,the Security Council has adopted the report of the Secretary General which included the full text of the settlement proposals. Security Council Resolution 621 (20 September 1988), authorized the Secretary General to appoint a special representative for Western Sahara and requested him to transmitareportontheholdingofareferendumforselfdeterminationofthepeopleofWestern Sahara and on ways and measures to ensure the organization and the supervision of such a referendumbytheUNincooperationwiththeOAU

(http://www.securitycouncilreport.org/atf/cf/%7B65BFCF9B6D274E9C8CD3 CF6E4FF96FF9%7D/MINURSO%20SRES621.pdf). On29April1991,theSecurityCouncil,initsresolution690decidedtoestablishtheUnited Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO) in accordance with theSecretaryGeneral's report which further detailed the implementation plan

(http://www.un.org/en/peacekeeping/missions/minurso/background.shtml). The implementation plan covered the transitional process of a referendum in which the participants would choose between integration with Morocco or independence. The resolution was based on the report of the Secretary General, dated 19 April 1991. The report covered many aspects of both the settlement proposals and the establishment and the course of MINURSO. The secretary general referred to the topics of the special representative for Western Sahara, the transitional period, the ceasefire, Moroccan military presence, confinement of each partys troops and designated locations,releaseofpoliticalprisonersanddetainees,exchangeofprisonersofwar,identification ofvotersandlastbutnottheleastorganizationofareferendum. It was stated previously that each secretary general, since the decision of the Security Council, has appointed special representatives for Western Sahara. Most of the key events and documents including the Baker Plan, which will be explained in following topics, were the results oftheeffortsofthespecialrepresentatives.Thepartiesseemedtohavereachedanagreementin the settlement proposals of 1988 on the issues such as the release of political prisoners and detainees and the exchange of prisoners of war. The International Committee of the Red Cross contributed to the work with the parties and families concerned. However the differences that remainedafterthesettlementplansandtheestablishmentofMINURSO,whichcontinueeven

today were about the identification of voters, thus the organization of the referendum, which naturally made the maintenance of the ceasefire impossible. The problem of identification of votersandtheorganizationofthereferendumwillbeexplained,embeddedinfollowingtopics. b. FromtheEstablishmentofMINURSOtotheBakerPlan Since the deployment of MINURSO, the ceasefire has beengenerally held. The transitional period, however, has not begun; given the parties divergent views on some key elements of the plan, in particular with regard to the criteria for eligibility to vote

(http://www.un.org/Depts/DPKO/Missions/minurso/minurso.pdf). This problem constituted the core of the question of Western Sahara. In order to overcome this issue, in 1993, MINURSOs Identification Commission was established. Due to procedural difficulties, the search for potential voters did not end for three years. Finally, the Secretary General suspended the identification process.Onlythemilitarycomponentsofthemissionremainedsoastomaintaintheceasefire. The identification process resumed in 1997 with the appointment of James Baker, the former US Secretary of State to the position in the post of Personal Envoy for Western Sahara by the Secretary General (Kofi Annan). The voter identification was completed in 1999 with 86000 voters. MINURSO then faced more than 130000 appeals by those denied identification as voters who were supported by Morocco (Arieff, 2011). The UN Security Council Resolution 1301, urged the two parties to consider alternative ways to ease the process of referendum, in the year 2000. TheUNconcludedthatprocessingappealscouldtakelongerthantheinitialidentificationprocess and that effective implementation of the settlement plan would require the full cooperation of MoroccoandtheFrentePOLISARIO(Arieff,2011).Howevertheeligibilityofvoterswasnot

confirmed by the fronts. The POLISARIO support that the Morocco have been placing Moroccans from north to the area so as to increase the number of Moroccan voters; furthermore the POLISARIOhadobjectedtotheUNledstudyclaimingthatonly85000ofthepotentialvoterswere eligibleoutof147000,andafterashortwhileitfoundonly65000suitedfortheelections. c. TheBakerPlan In 2001, the Secretary General presented a report on Western Sahara that included a set of stepssoontobereferredtoastheBakerPlananddiscusseditwithbothparties.Theplanwentas follows: The executive would be elected by voters identified in December 1999, which was constituted of people, favoring the POLISARIO and excluded a population supported by Morocco. Foreign relations, natural security and defense would be controlled by Morocco for a five yearperiodofautonomy. A referendum will be held to determine the final status as either independence or integration into Morocco, at the end of five years on interim. The sole voter criterion for thisreferendumwouldbeoneyearresidenceinWesternSahara. The Frente POLISARIO and its regional backer Algeria, rejected the draft Framework Agreementhowever,asitwasconcedingtoMoroccosdemandswhileprovidingtoolittletotheir own claims (Mission Notes, 2011). Thus, the first Baker Plan was unsuccessful. Also, the partition choicewasrefusedbybothparties.

In January 2003, Baker presented a compromise that did not require the consent of the parties (Arieff, 2011). The plan was in a more detailed form as the Peace Plan for Self Determination of the People of Western Sahara, with strong support from the Security Council. Theplanwentasfollows: The referendum would propose three options: Integration with Morocco, autonomy or independenceofSADR. Votersforthereferendumwillbeconstitutedofpeopleon:December1999list,UNOffice of High Commissioner on Refugees repatriation list as of October 2000 or continuously resident in the Western Sahara since December 30, 1999 (this would also include Moroccansettlers).TheUNwoulddeterminethesettlerswithoutappeal(Arieff,2011). During the interim, a Western Sahara Authority would be the local government and Moroccowouldcontrolforeignrelations,nationalsecurityanddefense(Arieff,2011). Moroccoobjectedduetotheadditionofathirdoption,independence,tothereferendum. In 2004, Morocco declared that it would only accept autonomy as a solution to the question of Western Sahara, emphasizing that it would agree on negotiations with Algeria insisting it is a bilateralprobleminnature.ThePOLISARIO,ontheotherhand,claimingindependenceistheonly solution;acceptedtheagreement.Thus,thesecondBakerPlanwasalsounsuccessful. On June 2004, James Baker has resigned from his position as the Personal Envoy and the Baker PlanhasnotbeenmentionedintheSecurityCouncilresolutionssincethen.

d. FurtherKeyDevelopments After a twoyear gap, the Secretary General appointed Peter van Walsum to the post in 2006. Despite four rounds of talks during 2007 and 2008, the new envoy made no progress in bridging the divide between Moroccos autonomy plan and POLISARIOs position that a referendum on independence must be an option (Mission Notes, 2011). Neither party was willing to discuss others proposals, that is, Moroccos for the autonomy and the POLISARIOs for a referendum. Algeria and Mauritania were also present in the four rounds of negotiations in observerstatus.AfterVanWalsumsexpression,anindependentWesternSaharaisnotarealistic proposition, in the Security Council; he was not reappointed in August 2008 due to POLISARIOs claimsthathewasbiasedinfavorofMorocco. ChristopherRosswasappointedasPersonalEnvoyin2009.Ross,spentthefirsthalfofthe year with informal talks and visits to the region; scheduling the fifth round of negotiations to the end of the year. On August 2009, during and informal talk between parties; human rights issues werediscussedforthefirsttimeacontentiousissueforthepartiesandtheirrespectivebackers, and notable in the absence of either a UN human rights monitoring mechanism to address the partiesallegationsorahumanrightsmandateforMINURSO(MissionNotes,2011). Although the fifth round of negotiations was expected to be held in 2009, Moroccan military activities against Saharan activists augmented the pressure and uncompromising stance of Moroccan leaders, it was postponed to the beginning of the year 2010. Ross visited the region on March and August in 2010.Both parties insisted on their commitment to 2007 proposals. Another round of informal talks between parties under the supervision of Personal Envoy Ross, began in November 2010. During the talks, Moroccan military forces intervened GdeimIzik camp

where Sahrawi people who protest socioeconomic conditions in Moroccancontrolled Western Sahara. Despite Rosss attempts to discourage forceful intervention, the camp experienced gross human rights violations. While the clashes did not bring the negotiations to an end, they did heightenmistrustonbothsides(MissionNotes,2011). After the Laayone incidents the two parties had informal talks in December 2010 and January 2011 during which they only agreed to diversify the activities of the Personal Envoy. During the informal talks in March 2011 parties were engaged in solid exchange of opinions; without any changes in the April 2007 positions. There was an agreement in discussing natural resources, whichwillbeexplainedindetailinfollowingsections,andpossiblemeasurestocalmthesituation in upcoming talks. In July 2011, although the parties did not reach a consensus in the main problem, that is April 2007 positions, they began discussing issues such as government, environment and health. They also agreed to support meetings with UNHCR in order to discuss therefugeeprobleminWesternSahara;whichwillalsobeexplainedinfollowingsections. 2. TheRoleofThirdParties InhisarticleTheSanctityofBordersandtheQuestionofWesternSaharaTerhiLehtinensays; The structure of antagonism in the current Western Sahara conflict is complex. First, there is a fundamental disagreement between Morocco and the POLISARIO/SADR, supported by the UN resolutions and the International Court of Justice decision, on the status of Sahara. Second, there is a dispute between Morocco and other North African countries, especially Algeria and Libya, on their support for the POLISARIO front, perceived as interference in Moroccaninternalaffairs.Consequently,theWesternSaharanquestionhasthreatenedthe regional stability of North Africa over the decades. Third, there is a great divergence betweentheOAUandMoroccoontheprincipleofinviolabilityofexistingstatebordersand practically,ontheadmittanceoftheSADRasanOAUmemberstate(Lehtinen,2000).

ThesewordsmakeitimpossibletothinkWesternSaharanquestionliessolelybetweenthe two opposing fronts, Morocco and Frente POLISARIO. The problem had formerly included Spain and Mauritania. References to the African Union (former OAU), and The League of Arab States are unavoidable as the first supports the SADR and the majority of the participants of the latter support Morocco. Since Morocco perceives the question as a bilateral problem among itself and Algeria, and SADR is supported by it, Algeria also has to be on the focus. Each third party will be mentionedinfollowingtopics. a. Algeria Algeria and Morocco are rivals with different decolonization histories and different political systems (Arieff, 2011). Almost, since independence, the neighbors have competed for a regional preeminence, and the Western Sahara is where the contest is now joint (Arieff,2011). AlgerianeverclaimedtheSaharanterritory,butithasactivelysupportedthePOLISARIOsactsfor the independence of the Western Sahara. The revolutionary and anticolonial stance of the Algerianstateinthe1970sandtheremnantsoftheborderdisputebetweenMoroccoandAlgeria have contributed to the Algerian involvement (Lehtinen, 1999). Various authors claim that an easier access to the Atlantic Ocean and exploitation of mineral resources is the main motive of Algerias stance. Algeria is considered to be one of the most important reasons of SADRs AU membership and recognition from various Latin American countries; thus Moroccos not being a member of the AU. Due to Western Sahara dispute, the Arab Maghreb Union of which both MoroccoandAlgeriaaremembers,hasnotheldasummitsince1994.

b. AfricanUnion The African Union succeeded the Organization of African Unity in 2002 was founded around the principle of decolonization in the core. The AU perceives the question of Western Sahara as the question of the last colony in the continent. In August 1994, The Liaison Office in Western Sahara was established by the AU so as to assist the registration process leading up to the referendum. Today, the office, which Is based in Laayoune, holds weekly meetings with leadingmembersofMINURSO,consultswithMoroccoandPOLISARIO,andprovideshumanitarian assistance for Sahrawi refugees in the camps in the Tindouf region of Algeria (Mission Notes,2011).IntheAfricancontext,thecommitmenttodecolonizationandinviolabilityofexisting borders has led to the recognition of the SADR and to the withdrawal of Morocco from the organization (Lehtinen, 1999). The AU has also been exploring ways of bettering its relations with MoroccobysometraderelationsanddiplomaticconversationfacilitatedbythePersonalEnvoyof the UN Secretary General. The search for a stronger bond between two actors is hoped to affect thefutureofthenegotiationsaboutWesternSaharainapositiveway. c. GroupofFriends: France has been a steadfast supporter of Morocco being its number one trading partner, primarycreditorandforeigninvestorwithclosebusinessandsocialties.Thetiesbetweenthetwo have been and remain extremely close since the time that Morocco achieved independence from France and French political and other elite maintain second homes and spend vacations in Morocco.Attimes,FrancehasactedasspokesmanforMoroccointheSecurityCouncilandwithin the Group of Friends and has supported the UN position only when Morocco has been

comfortable with it. It has shown no hesitation to stand alone from the rest when this suits Morocco. Starting in 2004, after the Madrid bombing and with the election of the current government, Spain has also moved closer to Morocco and away from its more nuanced position. Security (cooperation in counter terrorism given that several of the bombers were Moroccans, in counternarcoticmeasuresandillegalmigrationfromAfrica)andbusiness(Moroccobeingamajor trade partner and Spain getting the lions share from the EU fisheries agreement with Morocco) are playing a major role in the current governments stance. However widespread public support forPolisarioinSpainandmuchneededcooperationwithAlgeriaintheenergysectorhavecaused Spaintooscillateinitsposition,whichhasoftenfurthercomplicatedthesituation.AlthoughSpain is not a permanent member of the Security Council, for historical reasons it has been one of the founding members of the Group of Friends of Western Sahara the US, France, UK, Russia and Spainandassuchitplaysakeyroleinnegotiatingthevariousresolutionsevenwhenitisnotin theCouncil. Russiaontheotherhand,hasbeeninmoreofabindbeingcaughtbetweenitspositionon Kosovo, the independence of which it protests vehemently, and the declared independence of AbkaziaandSouth Ossetia,bothof whichitengineeredandofwhichRussiaisone ofahandful of statestosupport. As for the US, from the start of the conflict it has been an undisputed supporter of MoroccoalthoughuntilApril2004itmaintainedamoreneutral,handsoffpositionsupportingUN efforts, especially when Baker was the Personal Envoy. In July 2003, the US was instrumental in getting France on board the Security Council resolution supporting Bakers plan, even though Morocco had indicated that it was not happy with it. In April 2004 however, when Morocco rejectedtheplanoutright,theUSweakeneditssupportandjoinedFranceandSpaininsupporting

a solution based on Moroccos promised autonomy proposal. Moroccos cooperation on counter terrorism and its perceived supportive role on the IsraeliPalestinian conflict were the key factors influencingtheUStodepartfromitspreviouslymoreneutralapproach. THEQUESTIONOFNATURALRESOURCESINWESTERNSAHARA Article 1 paragraph 2 of the two UN covenants, the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, goes as follows: All peoples may, for their own ends, freely dispose of their natural wealth and resources without prejudice to any obligations arising out of international economic cooperation, based uponthe principle of mutual benefit,and international law. In no case may a people bedeprivedofitsownmeansofsubsistence. This expression leads the international relations and legal literature to perceive the question of natural resources in Western Sahara as a question of selfdetermination. The article, identical in both covenants, was applied by UN Human Rights Committee; and in 2001, the International Law Commission has confirmed the self determination aspect of natural resources. Thefourthcommittee,asitisspecifiedfordecolonization,thereforetakesthequestionofnatural resourcesinWesternSaharaintoconsideration. The economic importance of the Western Saharan territory, with the worlds richest fishing grounds, huge untapped phosphate and other mineral deposits and significant oil and gas reserves is claimed to be one of the triggering factors in the Western Sahara dispute by some authors. The CIAs World Factbook says Western Sahara depends on pastoral nomadism, fishing and phosphate mining as the principle sources of income for the population (https://www.cia.gov/cia/publications/factbook/geos/wi.html).

1. Phosphates Western Saharas shares of Moroccanregistered sales of phosphate imply that Western Sahara alone would be among worlds largest exporter of phosphates. Phosphate is important simplybecauseitisnonsubstitutable(Haugen,2007). In the Madrid Agreement, signed in 14 November 1975 and which divided Western Sahara between Mauritania and Morocco while Spain kept certain interests, the phosphate resources were at great importance. 35 percent of the BauCraa mines shares still belong to Spain. Morocco isthebiggestphosphateexporterintheworld.POLISARIOhasattackedtheBauCraaminesseveral times before the ceasefire, which shows the importance of the high capacity of phosphate mines in Western Saharan economy. Highranking military officers play important roles in the phosphatesextraction. 2. NaturalGasandOil AsacontrasttotheEUMoroccoFisheriesPartnershipAgreement,enteredintoforcebetween eight different oil companies and the Government of the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic is basedonanacknowledgementthattheresourcesofWesternSaharashallnotbeexploitedunless this is for the direct benefit for Sahrawi people, in accordance with the positions of their representativebody,POLISARIO(Hauge,2007). Theagreementsareimportantinthreeways: First,theyaddressthePOLISARIO. Second, they consider Sahrawian people have the right to take decisions regarding the naturalresourcesintheirterritories.

Third,theyimplythattheconflictwillonedaycometoend.

3. EUMoroccoFisheriesPartnershipAgreement The fish delivered in the occupied Western Sahara city Laayoune alone represents 38.6 percentofthetotalMoroccanreportedfishcatch(Haugen,2007),accordingto2004figures.Each year more than one million tons of fish are brought by fishing vessels from the coast of Morocco whichincludesthecoastoutsideofWesternSahara. TheUNCharterofEconomicRightsandDutiesofStates,1974,proclaimsthatnostatehas therighttopromoteorencourageinvestmentthatmayconstituteanobstacletotheliberationof a territory occupied by force. Yet to compensate for overfishing in European waters the European Union has negotiated with Morocco a fisheries agreement, which permits European fishinginbothMoroccanandSahrawiwaters(TUCReport,2006).On May22,2006;EUmember states decided to enter into an agreement with Morocco which is applicable to the waters under the sovereignty or jurisdiction of the Kingdom of Morocco, giving 119 vessels, mostly Spanish, access to these waters (Haugen,2007). Thus, the attemps to exclude Western Saharan waters werenotsuccessful. TheEUsupportsthattheagreementlegalaslongasitdoesnotopposewiththeinterestof local people. The legal opinion of the EU states that the agreement cannot be prejudged that Morocco will not comply with its obligations under international law visvis the people of WesternSahara(Haugen,2007).Haugenfurtherstatesinhisarticlethat: This ignores the actual Moroccan policy until today. Very little indicates that Morocco is preparedtofacilitateafisheriespolicywhichisdefinedandimplementedtogetherwithand

in accordance with the wishes of the legitimate representative of the Sahrawian people. Moreover (the legal opinion) does not specify that it is only the former colonial people, the Sahrawis, who has legal rights over the natural resources, while the current population, consistingtoalargeextendofMoroccansettlers,donothavesuchrights. As most of the traditional inhabitants are currently refugees, and as Sahrawis represent only two per cent of the fish industry employees; there is no likelihood that they will have any benefit from the agreement (Haugen, 2007). This is the reason why the POLISARIO is against the agreement. It also is argued that the agreement represents the Moroccan sovereignty claims over the territory. Spain is the administrative force of Western Sahara; but the agreement addresses Morocco. This argument caused contradictions between European companies, as once a NorwegiancompanyclaimedsuchanagreementwouldweakentheUNsponsoredpeaceprocess. Fromaninternationallawperspective,therearetwooptions: First, the Fisheries Agreement can be revised in order to only cover the water under the sovereigntyofMorocco. Second, the Fisheries Agreement can be cancelled, as is built on a wrongful premise that Morocco has legal competence to enter into an agreement which also covers a territory whichMoroccooccupies(Haugen,2007).

HUMANRIGHTSASPECTOFTHEQUESTION Refugees TheSahrawirefugeesituationisoneof the most protracted refugee situations worldwide. Sahrawi refugees arrived to Algeria in 197576 and were recognized by the host State on a prima facie basis. Ever since they have been residing in four refugee camps, namely Awserd, Dakhla, Laayoune and Smara, and one settlement in the Algerian southwestern province of Tindouf. The estimates for the refugees are beyond 100,000 whereas UNHCRs statistics claim that there are 116,415 refugees originating from Western Sahara Territory, there are an estimated 165,000 Sahrawi refugees in the camps according to the GovernmentofAlgeria. On the side of the United Nations, UNHCR is in dialogue with the host Government and the Sahrawi refugee leadership seeking to conduct a registration exercise to determine the exact number of refugees in the camps. Pending a positive conclusion of this dialogue, for the purpose of UNHCRs humanitarian operation, the office is using a planning figure of 90,000 vulnerable refugees in the camps. UNHCR has been continuing to protect and assist Western Saharan refugees in the camps. Consequently, Western Saharan refugees received the basics of subsistence, adequate food, water and sanitation, health services and primary education. Furthermore,UNHCRhasreorienteditsprogrammein2010toinvestinthefutureofgenerations,

through capacity building and support to local human rights protection institutions and mechanisms. Protection activities focus on monitoring the overall situation in the camps, developing contacts and enhancing cooperation with the refugee leadership and camp managementtoaddressrefugeeprotectionissues,advocacytopreventsex/genderbasedviolence (SGBV) and other forms of human rights abuses and discrimination; capacity development and training for local administrative bodies and the judiciary (e.g. human rights training for Sahrawi lawenforcementstructures). PoliticalRightsandCivilLiberties As the occupying force in Western Sahara, Morocco controls local elections which is claimed to be excluding independenceminded leaders from both the local political process and theMoroccanParliament. Western Sahara is not listed separately on Transparency International's Corruption Perceptions Index, but reports of corruption are widespread. Despite the fact that the territory possesses extensive natural resources, including phosphate, ironore deposits, hydrocarbon reserves,andfisheries,thelocalpopulationremainslargelyimpoverished. Sahrawis are not permitted to form independent political or nongovernmental organizations, and their freedom of assembly is severely restricted. As in previous years, activists supporting independence and their suspected foreign sympathizers were subject to harassment. SahrawisaretechnicallysubjecttoMoroccanlaborlaws,butthereislittleorganizedlaboractivity intheterritory.

Morocco and the POLISARIO Front both restrict free movement in potential conflict areas. Morocco has been accused of using force and financial incentives to alter the composition of WesternSahara'spopulation. CONCLUSION Western Sahara, being one of the last sixteen nonselfgoverning territories recognized by the United Nations, has been an area of dispute since the withdrawal of the former colonial power Spain. The area has been the cause of many problems. The Frente POLISARIO which is the political body representing the efforts for the establishment of the independent Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR) is one of the present actors with regards to problems facing the territory. The first problem, being in between the POLISARIO front and Morocco, is embodied as the referendum disputes between two parties. The second one is between Morocco and Algeria, theregionalbackerofthePOLISARIOfront.Thethird,whichcoversawiderareathatincludesthe memberStatestotheAfricanUnionandtheLeagueofArabStates,isontherecognitionofeither SADRs or Moroccos sovereignty over the territory. Apart from these; exploitation of the natural resources in the territory constitutes disagreements in the international community, with European Union and European companies being major actors as well as Morocco and the POLISARIO front. The human rights aspect of the question; including preoccupations such as the human rights violations in the territory, the problems of the refugee camps, the political rights and civil liberties of the Sahrawi people, is also worth the primary attention of the international community,namely,theUnitedNations. The United Nations General Assembly Fourth Committee has dealt with the dispute on Western Shara comprehensively since the day it was included in the agenda of it. The Committee is expected to give further recommendations on the permanent solution of the dispute in its upcomingresolutions.

PointsthataGoodResolutionShouldInclude: The recommendation of the General Assembly Fourth Committee about a possible consensusontheproblemsthatemergefromdifferingreferendumoptions The opinion and the suggestions of the Committee about Western Sahara, solely about its positionasanonselfgoverningterritory ThesubmissionsoftheCommitteetoMINURSOsprogram The suggestions of the Committee to the two opposing fronts for a healthier environment fornegotiation Possible ways of cooperation of the United Nations General Assembly with other third partiesforthebettermentofthesituationintheterritory. The position and the recommendations of the Committee regarding the natural resources questionofWesternSahara

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