STATEMENT BY H.E. DR. JAKAYA MRISHO KIKWETE, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED REPUBLIC OF TANZANIA, AT THE OFFICIAL LUNCHEON IN HONOUR OF H.E. MOHAMED ABDELAZIZ, PRESIDENT OF THE ARAB DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF SAHARAWI, AT THE STATE HOUSE DAR ES SALAAM, 25TH JUNE, 2012

Your Excellency Mohamed Abdelaziz, President of the

      Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic;

Honourable Bernard Kamillius Membe MP, Minister for

       Foreign Affairs and

International Co-operation;

Excellencies Ambassadors and High Commissioners;

Invited Guests;

Ladies and Gentlemen:

On behalf of the Government and the people of the United Republic of Tanzania, it is my pleasure to welcome Your Excellency and the esteemed members of your delegation toTanzania, and in particular toDar es Salaam, the Haven of Peace.   I sincerely thank you Mr. President for accepting the invitation to pay us a visit. Indeed, we feel greatly honored and privileged to welcome you in our country. Please feel at home and enjoy your short stay inTanzania.

Excellencies;

Ladies and Gentlemen;

The relationship between the Arab Democratic Republic of Saharawi andTanzaniais historical and has been consolidated by our firm

support to the cause of the liberation of Africa and the right of the people of Western Sahara’s to self-determination.  To our founding fathers of our nation the right to self-determination is a just cause and a principle that we have always cherished.   It is the same principle that guided our country’s position during the liberation struggle of the Southern Africa and other African countries that were under oppression, colonial rule and all the forms of oppression.

        It is this principle that made us host the OAU Liberation Committee and supported the liberation movements morally, materially and diplomatically.  Our support was loud and clear in Africa, the UN, the NAM and other international fora.

Tanzania’s position on the issue of Western Sahara’s independence is a matter of principle. It is based on our conviction on the peoples’ right to self-determination, and on the premise that both the United Nations and African Union have always been unanimous on the need to allow the people of Saharawi to determine their destiny. Several resolutions of the UN and Decisions of the OAU/ AU asserted to that. In December 1965, the UN General Assembly adopted resolution 2072 (XX) which requested Spain to decolonize the territory; thereafter in 1966 the UN requested Spain under resolution number 229 (XX1) to organize, under UN supervision, a referendum on self- determination for Saharawi people. This demand was repeated each year from 1967 to 1973.

Despite all these Resolutions and the International Court of Justice ruling on the legality of self determination, Spain ignored all this and on 14 November 1975, handed the country to Morocco and Mauritania under the Madrid Accord.

Excellencies;

With regards to Western Sahara, Tanzania has been supportive of all UN and OAU efforts and initiatives.  We promise to continue to do so.  We supported the first effort by the Organization African Unity (OAU) to resolve the conflict during the Summit of July 1979 in Monrovia, Liberia, where a mediation initiative for peaceful resolution of Western Sahara conflict was launched. This was followed by the OAU Resolution 103 (XVIII) made in June 1981 in Nairobi, Kenya and Resolution 104 (XIX) reached in Addis Ababa in June 1983. Tanzania was part of the Implementation Committee of the Heads of State on Western Sahara formed to take all measures, with participation of the UN, to guarantee the exercise by the people of Western Sahara of self-determination through a general and free referendum. Since then, the UN and AU have continued to work together to ensure that the referendum is held and that the people of Western Sahara are given the right to decide.

Mr. President;

Tanzaniais following with keen interest the ongoing direct negotiations between the two parties under the mediation of His Excellency Mr. Christopher Ross, the current United Nations Special Envoy.  We believe, it is right thing to do because direct negotiation has a tendency of building an effective partnership and confidence between parties towards a credible political settlement.  It has worked before in many other conflict situations.

I would like to encourage the parties to the conflict to continue with the dialogue until a breakthrough is emerged.  It is only through negotiations that hope of finding an acceptable and lasting solution to both parties is made possible.  On our part, we will support whatever decision you will come up with, as long as it is consistent with international legality, in particular, the principles enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations and African Union. That would ensure a just, legitimate and durable solution.

I implore you to remain positive and open for further negotiation with other party to the conflict. I want to assure you thatTanzaniashall not waiver its support to the cause of the Saharawi people. We will continue to work hard with other peace loving countries in the world to push for a credible political settlement of the conflict within the framework of relevant U.N resolutions and international legality. In this regard, I call upon the international community, particularly the UN and AU to scale up their efforts and resources so that the uncertainty and suffering of Saharawi people comes to an end.

Your Excellency;

It would be remiss of me, if I conclude my remarks without commending you for your commitment and efforts to find a durable settlement to the Saharawi conflict.  I know it is not easy, but I am sure your determination and resolve will continue to lead Saharawi people towards a just solution. I hope your historic visit will open a new page of the relationship that our two countries enjoy.

With these few remarks, ladies and gentlemen, may I now ask all of you present here to rise and join me in a toast: To the continued good health, long life and happiness of President Mohamed Abdelaziz; to the success in the search for peace and prosperity for the people of Sahrawi; to continued friendship, cooperation, and solidarity between the Saharawi people and Tanzanian people.

 I thank you for your kind attention.

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