President Jose Ramos-Horta supports Western Sahara independence
The President of Timor Leste and co-recipient of the 1996 Nobel Peace Prize, Jose Ramos-Horta headlined a discussion on the status of Western Sahara, Africa s last colony, in Melbourne, Australia on 23 July 2009.
His Excellency, President Ramos-Horta examined the parallels between Timor Leste and Western Sahara.
He examined why the Morocco has denied the process of self-determination mandated by the United Nations. He said that Morocco can t make a serious historic claim to the territory because it agreed to partition it with Mauritania.
He also said that the AU would not have admitted SADR to the AU if they were in any doubt about the legitimacy of the Saharawi cause. Because Africa respects the sanctity of the borders inherited from the colonial period.
Mr. Horta said that sooner or later Morocco, like Indonesia in East Timor, will realise that it is in its benefits to withdrew from Western Sahara and allow the Saharawis to have their full independence. He added that Western Sahara as a viable nation will contribute to the stability and progress of the Maghreb region.
The event was chaired by former leader of the Australian Democrats and current President of the Australian Western Sahara Association, Ms. Lyn Allison. The panel of speakers included:
Ms. Janelle Saffin, Member of the House of Representatives from the Labor Party (in power),
Mr. Kamal Fadel, Polisario representative to Australia and Ambassador to Timor Leste
Ms. Fatima Mahfoud, a representative of the National Union of Saharawi Women.
During the event a film made by the Australia ABC TV on the crucial role of Saharawi phosphate in Australian agriculture and the illegality of the importation of phosphate through Morocco was screened
On July 22, 2009, President Ramos-Horta published an article in one of the main newspapers in Australia the Sydney Morning Herald. In the article he stated The world must support the independence of Western Sahara as a bridge between the Maghreb and the rest of Africa and as an enlightened Muslim nation bringing the Islamic world and the western democracies closer.
The Government and the people of Western Sahara deserve at least that much. As for East Timor, the worldwide support of the people, quite apart from governments and world organizations, has been, and remains significant. Those connections count and the value of ensuring truth and fiction remain separate is vital