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Policy Statements
2010/11/08 19:54





QUESTION: The Question of Western Sahara

Western Sahara is an area of desert on the western coast of Africa, south of Morocco, and west and north of Mauritania. It
was claimed as a Spanish colony in the 1880s where it was known by the name of Spanish Sahara. Spain surrendered sovereignty over
the territory in 1975 without naming a successor regime, handing it to another
state, or explicitly recognizing its independence. While the governments of Mauritania and Morocco laid claim to the
territory, the International Court of Justice ruled in 1975 that the people of
the territory had the right to self-determination. Despite this ruling, Morocco and Mauritania moved in as the Spanish
left and occupied the territory. However, a home grown independence movement
called the Polisario Front, supported by Algeria, forced the Mauritanians to
leave. Moroccan forces moved in. Now, while most of the territory is controlled
by Morocco,
the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR), which was proclaimed on February
27, 1976, controls areas of the eastern borderlands. The SADR is a member of
the African Union, which does not recognize Morocco’s
claim to the territory, prompting Morocco to leave the Organization of
African Unity (OAU), the predecessor of the AU. The UN’s Baker Plan (named for
American diplomat James Baker) would have provided a provisional authority
under which the people of Western Sahara would
have a referendum, but that plan is currently dead.

has been little change in the overall situation in Western
over the past few years. Morocco
still controls most of the territory while the SADR is limited largely to the
eastern borderlands (see attached map.)
The United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western
Sahara (MINURSO) was established in 1991 for the purpose of organizing a
referendum, but Morocco
continues to prevent that from happening. Regardless, it has maintained a presence in the territory serving to
monitor the ongoing cease fire, reduce the threat of landmines and to support
confidence building measures in the region. 2007 and 2008 saw four rounds of United Nations-sponsored talked in New York between Morocco and POLISARIO. No significant progress resulted. Allegations of human rights abuses by the
Moroccan government continue, one of the most recent being the alleged
abduction of a nineteen-year-old girl by Moroccan security agents because she
was preparing to attend a human rights conference in England. Morocco
currently advocates the resettlement of Western Sahara refugees currently
residing in refugee camps in Algeria
to a third country if they so choose. Morocco also
continues to state its intent to cooperate with the United Nations to arrive at
a solution to the problem, but continues to oppose self-determination or
independence for the region.



Security Council Resolution 690 of April 21, 1991 created MINURSO, charged
with organizing a referendum for the people of Western
. Several resolutions
have since been passed to continue the mandate of MINURSO, the most recent
being Security Council Resolution 1871 of April 30, 2009, which extended
the mandate to April 30, 2010. The Organization
of African Unity (the predecessor of the African Union) passed Resolution
103 (XVIII)
at its meeting of Heads of State and Government in 1981 which
calls for a peaceful resolution as well as self-determination for the territory of Western Sahara.
 The first
government of the Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic was proclaimed on February
27, 1976 in the Proclamation
of the First Government of the Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic

France does not recognize Moroccan
sovereignty over Western Sahara neither does
it recognize the Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic. It has a long history of not criticizing
Moroccan human rights problems and enjoys solid trade relations with the
country. It supports the autonomy plan
that Morocco has proposed a plan that “
will permit a resolution to this conflict that has gone on too long is a
political solution, negotiated and agreed to by the two parties under UN
auspices” according to President Sarkozy. Prime Minister Francois Fillon reiterated, "I wish to underscore
just how much France
supports Morocco's
initiatives to resolve the painful issue of the Sahara, and just how much France does to explain Morocco's initiatives at the United


The French Republic
calls for a peaceful and quick resolution to the problem. France
supports Morocco’s proposal
for autonomy for the people of Western Sahara
within the framework of the Moroccan state. Furthermore, the French Republic calls for the resettlement of refugees from
the region now residing in camps in Algeria and elsewhere. The French
Republic calls for cooperation between
the governments of the SADR, Morocco
as well as the United Nations. France also hopes that the government of Morocco will
abide by international human rights norms.


1: The first sentence defines the key term (Western Sahara) in the topic for
discussion, Western Sahara. The remainder of
the paragraph gives background information including a brief discussion of its
colonial history, the war between Morocco
and Mauritania, the current
relationship Morocco
has with the territory as well as the local group fighting for its


2: Brings readers up to date with the
current situation in the territory
of Western Sahara
, noting
the current stalled progress of negotiations, the mandate of MINURSO,
UN-sponsored talks and allegations of human rights violations.

Part 3: Outlines some of the important
documents from the United Nations Security Council, the African Union in
addition to the proclamation of the first government of the SADR.


4: Clear statement and outline, with
quotes from French leaders, of France’s
view of the situation in the Western Sahara.


5: Outlines solutions the French Republic
would support.






Climate change refers to the fact that the climate of the earth is changing. It
is not the same that it used to be. It is also commonly known as global warming
because the average overall climate of the earth is getting warmer; however
this is not universal as some places are actually getting cooler due to changes
in the climate. Climate change is causing ice caps in the arctic and antarctic
as well as on mountains and plateaus to melt. This is causing the level of the
world’s oceans to rise, resulting in island and coastal areas to be under
threat. It is also believed to be causing droughts in some parts of the world,
excessive rain and floods in others, in addition to a larger number of intense
tropical storms such as hurricanes and typhoons.

China recently gained the dubious
distinction of being the world’s largest emitter of greenhouse gasses which are
blamed for contributing to climate change. Like other developing countries, it is not held to any standards under
the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, which is due to expire in 2012, and has been signed
and ratified by every major economy except for the United States. This December, the nations of the world will
convene a climate change meeting in Copenhagen,
the purpose of progressing to a post-Kyoto framework. New governments in Japan and the United
States have declared their intent to improve their own records in the area, but
major Asian economies, especially China and India continue to repeat the
refrain that the developed countries with a longer history of emissions must do
something first. Many in the West point
out that even if they reduce emissions, rising emissions in Asia
and other developing economies will more than offset cuts in their own
countries. A climate change summit held
in December 2007 in
Bali, Indonesia did not result in any
concrete agreements but resulted in the Bali Road Map which is a guide to
follow in coming years. A similar
conference held in Posnan, Poland in 2008 resulted in little

Part 1: The first sentence defines the key term (Climate change) in the topic
for discussion. It then proceeds to describe it and the apparent effects that
results from it.


2: Focus on the current situation. Notes China’s new status as the number
one emitter of greenhouse gasses and summarizes the dispute between developing
and developed countries on the issue. It
also outlines the conferences that have occurred and the one that is upcoming
in December of this (2009) year.

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