Sahara issue: Polisario leadership 'illegal' and 'cannot negotiate with Morocco,' reformist movement
This leadership "represents by no means the Sahrawi people," the founding member of the Algerian-backed Polisario told the press, noting that it tries to "maintain the current situation" prevailing in the Sahara.
The Polisario continues to hold thousands of Moroccans against their will in these camps since the Sahara dispute broke out in 1976 when the Polisario, backed by Morocco's eastern neighbor, Algeria, started laying claims to the territory, a former Spanish colony that was ceded to the North African country in 1975 under the Madrid Accord.
Mr. Salek, who called upon letting the Sahrawis decide whom is entitled to negotiate in their name with Morocco, also expressed readiness to negotiate with Morocco an autonomy status for the Sahara.
Touching on the second round of the Manhasset talks, billed for
August 11 under the aegis of the UN, he deemed dialogue "only way to solve the conflict."
After the first round of talks on the Sahara on June 18-19 in Manhasset, Morocco and the Polisario will launch a second round (on August 10-11) in accordance with the U.N. Security Council resolution 1754 that called on the parties to engage in direct negotiations in "good faith and without preconditions."
He also decried the decision of the Polisario leaders to postpone, for the second time, the convening of the 12th congress of the movement, due on October 12, calling on the Sahrawis held against their will in the camps of Tindouf to "boycott" this meeting and describing as "null" the decisions to be taken by the latter.
In a press release, the movement also called upon the international community and the UN to send observers to the Camps of Tindouf to record violations committed by the Polisario leadership.
The Polisario-Khat Chahid (Line of the Martyr) is a minor faction within the Polisario movement. It is based in the camps of Tindouf. The organization announced its existence in 2004, stating that it had to move outside the Polisario to correct the front's faulty practices.