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06RABAT117 2006-01-24 15:12:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Rabat
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1. (C) During a January 19 meeting covering UN reform
(septel) and Iran (Ref A), Deputy FM Fassi Fihri raised the
Western Sahara, noting that he was "surprised" by remarks
attributed to Ambassador Bolton at the Security Council's
closed door briefing on the Western Sahara on January 18
"blaming" Morocco for the political impasse. Fassi Fihri
said he had spoken to Moroccan PermRep Bennouna about the
meeting (though Bennouna was not present), and had understood
that Bolton had commented that Morocco had rejected every
proposal since the Settlement Plan. Fassi Fihri said
Bolton's comments were not sympathetic to Morocco and not
"gentil" (nice). (Note: Ambassador had only a cursory
read-out of the Western Sahara discussion at the time of the
Fassi Fihri meeting and was not in a position to refute Fassi
Fihri's off-target comments. Upon reading Ref C, received
January 23, Embassy Rabat sees no speaker at the event
specifically singling out Morocco, or any other party for
that matter, for blame over the political stalemate. End

2. (C) Fassi Fihri continued that the discussion on MINURSO
at the January 18 meeting was not surprising or new to
Morocco. Morocco agreed that the status quo was
unacceptable. Fassi Fihri understood that Van Walsum would
not be proposing a new peace plan, and that the UN would ask
for direct negotiations between the parties. Morocco agreed
to negotiations, but Algeria must participate.

3. (C) Ambassador responded that he understood Van Walsum
had given a clear and effective presentation. Fassi Fihri
said he heard that the UK Ambassador had spoken of the need
to respect the principle of self-determination, but that
Morocco believed the UK also knew well the "reality."

4. (C) Fassi Fihri said that Morocco was prepared to discuss
its next autonomy proposal with the US, as soon as it was
ready. He understood the State Department was giving a lot
of thought to the issue of autonomy, and it would be
interesting for Morocco and the US to exchange views. Fassi
Fihri said Morocco's next autonomy plan would contain
"nothing very new" beyond what Morocco had presented earlier
and that the US had already seen.
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