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06RABAT448 2006-03-10 14:44:00 SECRET Embassy Rabat
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1. (SBU) Over lunch March 2 in Rabat, visiting ICRC Regional
Representative Bernard Pfefferle and Polcouns discussed the
following issues:

Western Sahara


2. (C) Pfefferle sought latest US views on the political
situation in the Western Sahara. Polcouns said the US
believed we were potentially entering a new political dynamic
on the Western Sahara and encouraging the parties to focus on
finding a way to start negotiations, centering on Morocco's
expected release of an expanded autonomy plan in the near
future. In the meantime, emboffs continued to visit the
territory for first-hand assessments of the situation and the
atmosphere following months of intermittent demonstrations.

3. (C) Pfefferle said he planned to meet with ex-POWs during
his current visit to Morocco. He believed the ex-POWs
continued to face serious difficulties in readjusting to
their freedom. Even people from solid families, who had
returned after decades and seemed to re-join their loved ones
successfully, have moments "when they disappear from the
conversation for several minutes." Pfefferle and Polcouns
agreed the GOM did not appear to be doing much to ease the
reintegration of the ex-POWs into society, although there are
recent press reports that an ex-POW association has been

4. (C) Pfefferle said ICRC continued to work with both the
GOM and the Polisario, as well as with ex-POWs, to extract
more information on cases of the missing and disappeared from
the Western Sahara conflict.

Guantanamo Detainees


5. (C) Pfefferle said ICRC staff had visited Morocco
recently to interview two former Guantanamo detainees
currently in prison (these were two of the five detainees
repatriated to Morocco in August 2004). Pfefferle explained
that the purpose of the interviews was to discuss detention
conditions in Guantanamo, as ICRC was doing with former
Guantanamo detainees worldwide, and that ICRC used the
information gleaned to advise the US on improving conditions
in the detention facility. He described US-ICRC cooperation
on Guantanamo as "close." He noted that when they first
returned from Guantanamo, the five Moroccan detainees showed
little receptivity to meeting with ICRC officials, but that
was changing. He said the GOM was fully cooperative with
arranging the visits and allowing for private interviews in
the prison. ICRC hoped to meet with the three latest
returnees (February 2006) on subsequent visits.

ICRC Humanitarian Projects with the GOM


6. (C) Pfefferle said the ICRC continued to work with the
GOM on the possibility of establishing an MOU for prison
visits in Morocco. The GOM had still not issued a decision
on the matter, but Pfefferle was optimistic his meetings with
the MOJ during the week would produce progress.

7. (C) ICRC continued to work with the Moroccan Ministry of
Education to introduce principles of international
humanitarian law in the Moroccan school system. Pfefferle
said the GOM had embraced the project and was pursuing it
vigorously, even at its own expense financially. The effort
enjoyed the solid support of the Secretary General of the
MOJ, Mohamed Lididi.
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