Monday, July 16, 2007

US supports autonomy, Woodrow Wilson "surprised"

In a blatant dismissal of international law and United Nations precedent, the United States came out last Wednesday in favor of Morocco's autonomy proposal. Most people expected the United States preferred Morocco over SADR in negotiations, but it's surprising the US would be so bold about it.

The official stance was delivered by Jackie Sanders, the US's alternate representative to the UN, pictured here with Western Sahara fan John Bolton. Why didn't John talk some sense into her? Anyway, here's what she said:

"We believe a promising and realistic way forward on the Western Sahara is meaningful autonomy. Morocco’s initiative could provide a realistic framework to begin negotiations on a plan that would provide for real autonomy contingent on the approval of the local populations. We hope both sides will engage realistically."
Check out this inspired bit of obfuscation from Ambassador Sanders, when a reporter questioned her during the same stakeout:
Reporter: But the U.S. voted yes on resolution 1754, which acknowledges both proposals, so I am wondering why there is a back step right now based on this statement that you just said?

Ambassador Sanders: I would not call it a “back step,” I would call it forward movement. We want to see forward movement with the parties and I think we are seeing that.
Maybe I'm not versed enough in diplomacy to understand, but I think supporting self-determination aces an imposed political solution any day. This strikes me as another maneuver to force Polisario into negotiating terms of autonomy, and not whether to accept autonomy at all. To help that more, Sanders refused to treat Polisario's plan equally.

For those who think the United States will have a lot to say about any non-violent resolution to the conflict, there is a bit of good news. People with connections to politics tell me Democrats are more disposed to supporting the Sahrawi side of things, and the mood in the U.S. is leaning towards a Dem victory in 2008. Universal health care and a referendum? 2009 will see an embarrassment of riches.

Alle at Western Sahara Info has more on Sanders's statement, and Canada's annexation of the U.S.

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