Sidi Omar to Guterres: Spain should reconsider new decision on Western Sahara to play a constructive role in the conflict

New York (United Nations)- Frente Polisario Representative at trhe UN and Coordinator with Minurso, Dr. Sidi Mohamed Omar, stressed in a letter to the UN Secretary General, Mr. Antonio Guterres, that Spain should reconsider its last decision to support Moroccan position, if Madrid is to play a constructive role in the UN efforts to find a solution to this last case of decolonisation in Africa.

He further indicated thatthe Frente POLISARIO and the Government of the Sahrawi Republic (SADR) call upon Spain, as the de jure Administering Power of Western Sahara, to assume fully its legal and historical responsibility regarding the Territory and the destiny of its people.”

Following is the full text of the Letter of which SPS received a copy:

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Letter of Frente POLISARIO Representative at the United Nations and Coordinator with MINURSO to the Secretary-General of the United Nations

H.E. Mr António Guterres  

Secretary-General of the United Nations

United Nations, New York

New York, 22 March 2022

Your Excellency,

Upon instructions from my Authorities, I am writing to you regarding the position declared recently by the Spanish Government concerning Western Sahara, which will only serve to embolden the occupying state of Morocco to continue its illegal military occupation of parts of Western Sahara.

This unfortunate position will also encourage the occupying state of Morocco to persist in its obstructionism in such a way that will hamper the efforts of the Personal Envoy of the UN Secretary-General for Western Sahara, Mr Staffan de Mistura, and undermine the prospect for relaunching the long-stalled UN peace process.

Instead of assuming its legally established historical and moral responsibility towards the people of Western Sahara, Spanish Government has opted for a position that is all the more regrettable as it distances itself from the Spanish traditional policy regarding Western Sahara.

The Spanish National High Court (La Audiencia Nacional) in its ruling of 4 July 2014 established that “Spain de iure, although not de facto, continues to be the Administering Power (of Western Sahara), and as such, until the end of the decolonisation period, it has the obligations set forth in articles 73 and 74 of the Charter of the United Nations” (para 5. (d)).

The ruling confirmed the Legal Opinion issued by the UN Under-Secretary-General for Legal Affairs, the Legal Counsel, on 29 January 2002, at the request of the Security Council, which confirmed that “The Madrid Agreement (concluded secretly between Spain, Mauritania and Morocco on 14 November 1975) did not transfer sovereignty over the territory, nor did it confer upon any of the signatories the status of an administering Power—a status which Spain alone could not have unilaterally transferred” (para. 6).

Moreover, in its judgement (Case C‑104/16 P) of 21 December 2016, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) recognised “the separate and distinct status accorded to the territory of Western Sahara by virtue of the principle of self-determination, in relation to that of any State, including the Kingdom of Morocco” (para. 92).

It is worth underlining that the General Assembly has never approved Madrid Agreement or considered it to have affected the status of Western Sahara in line with General Assembly Resolution 742 (VIII) of 27 November 1953 and relevant resolutions. The General Assembly and its subsidiary bodies have therefore continued to address the question of Western Sahara within the scope of Chapter XI of the UN Charter.

Regarding the status of Morocco in relation to Western Sahara, the General Assembly has deeply deplored “the continued occupation of Western Sahara by Morocco” in its Resolutions 34/37 of 1979 and 35/19 of 1980, among others. It is worth noting that the condition of Western Sahara being both a Non-Self-Governing Territory on the UN agenda since 1963 and an Occupied Territory is compatible with international law and practice.

In view of the above, Spain therefore still has legal, historical, and moral responsibilities towards the people of Western Sahara. As such, it is still accountable to the UN and to the Sahrawi people for the fulfilment of its responsibilities and “sacred trust” obligations concerning the decolonisation of the Territory in line with the provisions of Chapter XI of the UN Charter and relevant General Assembly resolutions.

The Frente POLISARIO and the Government of the Sahrawi Republic (SADR) call upon Spain, as the de jure Administering Power of Western Sahara, to assume fully its legal and historical responsibility regarding the Territory and the destiny of its people.

In this regard, the Frente POLISARIO and the Government of the Sahrawi Republic (SADR) hope that the Spanish Government would urgently reconsider its unfortunate decision to ensure that Spain plays a constructive role in the international efforts aimed at achieving a peaceful and lasting solution based on the exercise by the people of Western Sahara of their inalienable right to self-determination and independence.

Please accept, Your Excellency, the assurances of my highest consideration.

Dr Sidi M. Omar

Ambassador

Representative of the Frente POLISARIO at the United Nations

Coordinator with MINURSO." (SPS)

090/500/60 (SPS)