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Western Sahara: International Conference for Peace and Security

The event will take place in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria on 22-23 September 2022, organised by the Saharawi Movement for Peace, in collaboration with the Saharawi Canarian Forum
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The Saharawi Movement for Peace (SMP) will present in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria its approach and recommendations on the compromise solution on Western Sahara in the framework of the International Conference for Peace and Security.

This was announced in an official statement by Bahia Baali, official spokesman of the MSP: "The SMP will present in the Canary Islands its approach and recommendations on the compromise solution which will put an end to the journey to nowhere which was undertaken fifty years ago in order to reunify all the Saharawis in their territory".

The same official statement from the SMP indicated that "despite the efforts of the international community to facilitate a peaceful solution, the Western Sahara dispute remains deadlocked and, consequently, threatens peace and stability in the region". 

The SMP emerged in April 2020 "in the face of the lack of horizons and the unfortunate management of the political process by the Polisario Front", as the organisation itself explains. It is "a new independent political force that is committed to democracy and multipartyism as opposed to single-party totalitarianism". 

"The new movement has set as its priority the promotion of a compromise solution that will put an end to the journey to nowhere that began fifty years ago, reunify the Saharawis in their land, and open the door to a future of well-being and prosperity for all Saharawis", as the official SMP note points out.

For the SMP, "the appointment of Staffan de Mistura as the new personal envoy of the UN Secretary General after the resignation of Horst Koehler three years ago, constitutes a new opportunity, perhaps the last one, for a peace agreement, without winners or losers".

The SMP considers that "the recent decision of President Pedro Sánchez to break with the negative neutrality of the Spanish government and its willingness to contribute to a mutually acceptable solution to the problem has generated a positive dynamic that the Saharawis should take advantage of, as Spain's position, due to its historical responsibilities and its influence in other key Western countries, is transcendental for peace in Western Sahara".

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REUTERS/ZOHRA BENSEMR - Tindouf refugee camp

In this context, the SMP has taken the initiative to organise an international meeting to discuss and draw attention to the need for a peaceful settlement of the Western Sahara problem as an indispensable element for peace and stability in northwest Africa and the Mediterranean. In the framework of this conference, a "Sahrawi Melga" will be organised, a meeting for Sahrawi dialogue with the participation of various Sahrawi civil society actors. The aim is to agree on strategies to promote peace efforts by highlighting the role of the traditional authority, the tribal notables, who have embodied legitimate representation since the time of Spanish colonisation. "In its belief in multipartyism and democracy, the political leadership of the MSP has also extended invitations to representatives of the notables and the Parliament under the authority of the Polisario Front, as well as expressed its willingness to send a delegation to the next Congress of the Polisario Front", as the official communiqué indicated.

The First International Conference for Peace and Security organised by the SMP, in collaboration with the Saharawi Canarian Forum, will take place on 22 and 23 September in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, a neutral space which by its proximity and its historical relations with the Sahara gives the event a particular dimension and significance.

Leading politicians and statesmen will participate, as well as renowned academics and specialists who will discuss the solution to the problem of Western Sahara as a key factor for peace and stability in northwest Africa and the Mediterranean.

It will be an opportunity for dialogue and debate among Saharawis. The SMP approach and its recommendations for a compromise solution will be presented. Voices and opinions will also be heard from other protagonists such as society's notables, intellectuals, women and young people.

The conclusions of the meeting will be gathered in what will be known as the "Manifesto of the Canary Islands".