|06RABAT1775||2006-09-22 18:40:00||CONFIDENTIAL||Embassy Rabat|
VZCZCXYZ0000 OO RUEHWEB DE RUEHRB #1775 2651840 ZNY CCCCC ZZH O 221840Z SEP 06 FM AMEMBASSY RABAT TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 4741 INFO RUEHAS/AMEMBASSY ALGIERS PRIORITY 4159 RUEHCL/AMCONSUL CASABLANCA PRIORITY 2171 RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK PRIORITY 0595
C O N F I D E N T I A L RABAT 001775
1. (C) SUMMARY: CORCAS Chairman Khalihenna Ould Er Rachid
told Ambassador he would travel to Washington September 23,
for meetings beginning September 25. He planned to focus on
explaining Moroccan efforts and progress toward pulling
together an autonomy plan for the Sahara. Ambassador
repeatedly urged that Morocco needed to come up with a
concrete credible plan, or risk losing MINURSO. Kalihenna
had nothing new to offer on an autonomy plan. He said it
would take a few more months, probably until the end of the
year, to produce a draft. END SUMMARY.
2. (C) Khalihenna Ould Er Rachid, Chairman of the Royal
Council for Saharan Affairs (CORCAS) called on Ambassador
Riley September 22. Kalihenna said he would depart the next
day for Washington, for a week of meetings beginning
September 25. He said the objective of his visit was to
brief U.S. officials on the GOM and specifically CORCAS
efforts to pull together an autonomy plan for the Western
Sahara. The GOM has been holding its consultations with
Sahrawis. He said Morocco and the Sahrawis want &direct
assistance of the USG in resolving the Sahara problem, &in
or out of the UNSC.8 USG support was needed urgently, also
due to the arrival in Sahara of Al-Qaeda elements from
Algeria. (Comment: This is not new information.)
3. (C) Khalihenna said drafting an autonomy plan had been
problematic, given its potential to affect all of Morocco.
He pleaded for patience on the part of the U.S., because
producing a plan that would protect Morocco, while giving the
Sahrawis their due rights, had proved exceedingly difficult.
This will take some months, he said, probably until the end
of the year, but not years.
3. (C) Ambassador stressed that we had made clear to the GOM
that if Morocco could put forward a concrete and credible
plan, the USG would support it. Several months was too long,
however. Morocco should take advantage of this unique,
time-sensitive offer. It would be difficult for the USG to
support MINURSO mandate renewal next month if such a plan
were not on the table.
4. (C) Kalihenna was accompanied by his Secretary-General,
Maelaanine Ould er Rachid, who will also be going to
Washington. Ten other members of the Council will also make
the trip. Meetings had been arranged at STATE and the White
House. The program was in flux, however, due to difficulty
obtaining meetings with Congress. Ambassador urged him to be
realistic about meetings on the Hill, which could be
difficult to schedule, as Congress was trying to finish its
business before pre-election recess.
5. (C) Background note: Khalihenna Ould Er Rachid is the head
of the 144-member Royal Council for Saharan Affairs (CORCAS).
The king formed CORCAS on March 27, 2006 to be a
consultative group responsible for drafting an autonomy plan
for the Western Sahara. The members of CORCAS were drawn
from the Western Saharan tribes, nongovernmental
organizations, academic and professionals. Khalihenna, from
a major Sahrawi tribe, is the elected mayor of Laayoune, the
largest city in the territory.
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