Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2000-03-16-Speech-4-169"

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"Mr President, after the vote in East Timor, the process of self-determination in Western Sahara is the last one outstanding in the world. But it is a process of self-determination which grows more complicated by the day, as highlighted last week by news of the repression taking place in the occupied territories of Western Sahara. On the proper conclusion of this process of self-determination depend the stability, peace and indeed the economic integration and development of the whole Maghreb. I would even say that the transition to full democracy apparently under way in the Kingdom of Morocco also depends on it. From our point of view, the culmination of the process of self-determination in Western Sahara lies in the application of the peace plan from the United Nations and the Organisation for African Unity. And the core of that peace plan is precisely the holding of a free and fair referendum on self-determination, in which voters can make their choice without any kind of pressure. In spite of the efforts of the United Nations, in spite of MINURSO, in spite of the progress that has been made in compiling the electoral roll, the referendum keeps being postponed virtually . Of course, the delay of the referendum is essentially the responsibility of one of the parties, which is failing to finalise acceptance of the terms under which the said referendum is to take place. For that to happen, for self-determination to become a reality in Western Sahara in the short term, the available instruments must be used: the Houston Agreements and the efforts of James Baker. Direct dialogue between the parties is essential. The Kingdom of Morocco and the Polisario Front must restore the direct dialogue which existed at the end of the 1980’s and which led to the Houston Agreements. The European Union should make it a priority to help keep that process going, to help it succeed. Regrettably, the Union has not acted in the most appropriate way up to now. Much has been said, but little has actually been done. The most important point in the resolution we are going to adopt here today is the European Parliament’s call to the Council to take common action, as provided for in the Treaty on European Union, on Western Sahara. And that means statements and instruments, making all the instruments we have at our disposal available to help bring this process of self-determination to a satisfactory conclusion, assist Mr Baker, support the United Nations, call on the parties to respect the terms of the international resolutions and set in motion essential humanitarian cooperation. That is how we can contribute to achieving a priority objective: peace in the Maghreb. Self-determination in Western Sahara is essential for that."@en1

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