The exchange of family visits between the Moroccan provinces in the South and Tindouf camps (South-West of Algeria) should start as planned, in the coming month of April. Meanwhile, the UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-Moon, has greeted this Thursday, Morocco’s willingness to support the technical mission recently set up for the rebuilding of roads that would allow the exchange of visits between families through surface ways. Ban Ki-moon who has just had an interview with the Moroccan Minister for Foreign Affairs, Taieb Fassi Fihri, said to be also encouraged by the results of the 6th round of informal negotiations held between 7 and 9th March in Malta and the parties’ willingness to continue negotiations following innovating approaches. During this interview which was attended namely by the Secretary General’s personal Envoy for the Sahara, Christopher Ross, the two executives have started an evaluation of the on-going negotiations process, and this, at the light of Malta discussions. The HCR and MINURSO have agreed in last February, in Geneva, to start a technical mission so as to establish an itinerary to allow the beneficiary families to use the roads. The starting of this travelling movements is planned for the next month of April.
The Geneva meeting, to which has been present, apart from the UN high commissioner for refugees, Antonio Guterres and the UN Secretary General’s personal Envoy and Morocco, Algeria, Mauritania and the Polisario delegations, has also been looking into other means of communication by phone and courier . The HCR was invited to present concrete proposals on the means to activate these two services in the coming future. Ban Ki-Moon/Fassi Fihri talks came just before the publishing of the General Secretary’s report on the Sahara and the renewal by the Security Council of the MINURSO mandate. In a recent declaration to the press, the UN Secretary General has qualified the last round of informal negotiations to be “a step forward” on the way to the settlement of the Western Sahara conflict. This set of humanitarian initiatives should, according to observers, relieve the sufferings of the Sahrawi populations sequestrated and isolated for a long time in Tindouf camps.