The secretary general of the Saharawi organisation took part in the programme "De cara al mundo" on Onda Madrid

Ahmed Barack Allah: “El Movimiento Saharauis por la Paz debe participar en las negociaciones sobre el Sáhara”

photo_camera PHOTO/ARCHIVO - Ahmed Barack Allah

The Saharawi Movement for Peace continues to call for the inclusion of more influential actors at the negotiating table on the Sahara in order to reach a stable, credible and lasting solution, as Ahmed Barack Allah indicated on the programme "De cara al mundo" on Onda Madrid

What do you think of all that Algeria is doing, after breaking off relations with Spain, as a result of its support for Morocco's proposed extended autonomy over the Sahara?

To be honest, in my opinion, Algeria's reaction to Spain's decisions regarding the need to open a process of dialogue leading to a solution through the autonomy proposal put forward by Morocco, which we believe could be a starting point, cannot be understood unless it is seen from an internal point of view. It is typical of many third world governments that, faced with internal challenges, seek to create external tensions so that their own public opinion focuses on them, and this is no exception. 

Spain is not the first country to adopt this position... 

One of the things that surprises me most is that Algeria has not reacted in the same way and with the same urgency to decisions taken in the same direction by no less important countries such as the US, France and Germany, among others. Nor did it react to African countries that adopted more advanced positions, such as the installation of diplomatic missions on Moroccan territory. Therefore, Algeria's reaction is surprising and is a sign of the great complexity of the problem and the fact that there is a confrontation between Morocco and Algeria, the Saharawis are the ants in this elephant fight, our effort as Saharawis is to focus on how to get out of this train wreck and safeguard the future. 

Ahmed Barack Allah

The Polisario Front continues to claim to be the defenders of the Saharawis, you are the secretary general of the Saharawi Movement for Peace, what does this movement consist of?

Indeed, a long time has passed since 1975. At a certain point in history, the discourse and slogans of the Polisario Front aroused the interest of a significant sector of the Sahrawi population. As I said, a lot has happened in these almost fifty years, in my case I am further proof that things have changed, I used to be the Polisario Front's representative in Spain, the situation has evolved and the Polisario is no longer the sole representative of the Sahrawi people. Not even in the most perfect democracies in history has anyone ever managed to be the sole and legitimate representative of anything or anyone. Evidently, in response to the Polisario Front's democratic deficit, and the mistakes it has made over the years, critical internal voices have emerged and, over time, have consolidated to establish oppositional political forms to represent the silent majority of the Sahrawi people who are fed up with the wars and exile and see Morocco's broad autonomy plan as a good start to unblocking this situation. 

The vast majority of Saharawis do not want more conflict and advocate finding a credible and lasting solution...

The solution must be conceived above slogans and fantasies, in that sense, it is very important that the Spanish government and its president, Pedro Sánchez, have started an initiative that we hope will serve to push for a solution so desired by the Saharawis. The Sahrawi Movement for Peace is a political formation that reflects the feelings of the Sahrawi population in the pursuit of a peaceful solution, although we have only been in existence for two years, we have stood very strongly and in a way being the object of almost the entire population of the territory that unfortunately lives outside it. The Sahrawi Movement for Peace presents moderate, credible and viable proposals that are what the Sahrawi people want, and not continue to hook them with impossible utopias, that is the main difference between us and the Polisario Front. The Polisario does not represent all Saharawis, indeed it does not even represent half of the Saharawis.

Ahmed Barack Allah

You claim that if the United Nations, with Staffan de Mistura at its head, manages to bring the parties to this conflict to the negotiating table in Geneva, it should include the Sahrawi Movement for Peace or the Defence of Human Rights for the Sahara, not just the Polisario Front. 

I am absolutely convinced that, in order to get out of the vicious circle, in which we have been in this format of two main parties and two observer parties, as in the case of Algeria and Mauritania, for more than thirty years, it is time to look for another approach and promote other ideas to get out of this vicious circle. One formula that might be appropriate is to broaden the negotiating table to include not only more representatives of the Sahrawi population but also tribal notables, a key player in the voter identification process when an electoral roll was to be defined for a referendum on self-determination. Broadening the format to include more Saharawi representation and more interested and influential observer countries, such as Spain, France and the US. The inclusion of more influential actors at the negotiating table could generate greater consensus and help to break out of this situation, which is going nowhere. We believe that this is the solution that should be considered so that the opportunity that Mr. De Mistura has does not make him throw in the towel, as a dozen UN special envoys have already done. Spain, from the approach that we propose, can play a relevant role and contribute to this new approach, which would surely be much more useful than the previous ones.

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