Skip to main content

Western Sahara: Politics and Government

Volume 507: debated on Tuesday 16 March 2010

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions he has had with his Algerian counterpart on (a) the decision to close land borders with Morocco since 1994 and (b) the effects of such closure on regional co-operation on (i) security and (ii) counter-terrorism initiatives; and if he will make a statement. (321618)

I have not had any specific discussion with my Algerian counterpart regarding the 1994 closure of land borders between Algeria and Morocco. However, we do have regular dialogue with the Algerian authorities on regional co-operation, security of the region and counter terrorism activities. These issues were last raised during the UK/Algeria ministerial dialogue meeting held in London on 2 March, which I co-chaired with Abdelkader Messahel, the Algerian Minister Delegate for Maghreb and African Affairs.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions he has had with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees on (a) Sahrawi refugees in the Tindouf camps in Algeria and (b) proposals to undertake a census in such camps. (321619)

Officials from our embassy in Rabat recently discussed the situation of refugees in the Tindouf camps with representatives of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in February. British officials also meet with UNHCR representatives as part of their visits programme to the disputed territory of Western Sahara and the refugee camps. There has been no discussion with UNHCR about undertaking a census of the populations in the camps during these meetings.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what information his Department holds on the powers the Moroccan government has offered to devolve to Western Sahara in the framework of its autonomy initiative as submitted to the United Nations Secretary General on 11 April 2007. (322339)

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has a copy of the proposal Morocco submitted to the UN Secretary-General in April 2007, which was noted in UN Security Council Resolution 1754 (2007) as a serious and credible effort. The UK continues to support the efforts of the Secretary-General and his Personal Envoy to Western Sahara, Ambassador Christopher Ross, to build confidence between the parties and find a negotiated political solution that provides for the self-determination of the people of Western Sahara.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what information his Department holds on major infrastructure projects which have been undertaken by Morocco in Western Sahara to modernise the region and improve the standard of living of the local population. (322340)

Foreign and Commonwealth Office officials have had briefings from Moroccan officials responsible for development programmes in Western Sahara. These take place in the context of our programme of visits to the disputed territory; the most recent of these visits being December 2009.