Implementation of the Confidence Building Measures

In accordance with the Security Council resolution 1429 of July 30, 2002, the High Commission of Refugees (HCR), in close cooperation with the Office of the special Representative of the Secretary-general in Sahara submitted to the parties in November 2002 proposals pertaining to trans-boundary activities aiming at building a climate of confidence and meeting the humane needs of families which are separated for a long time due to the conflict.

These measures include the exchange of personal mail, the telephone calls and the exchange of family visits between the camps of Tindouf and the provinces of the South. Morocco was the first to give its agreement in March 2003 for the phone calls. These connections began on April 15, 2003, before being suspended by Polisario using the pretext of the absence of authorization of Algeria.

It had been necessary to wait eight month before Algeria authorized these telephone calls, in January 2004. Morocco was also the first to give its agreement for the program of the family visits which started on March 5 2004 under the supervision of the High Commission for Refugees with the logistic support of MINURSO. This operation of the exchanges of visits between the sahrawi families and their relatives imprisoned in the camps of Tindouf had a true humane and political success. Until April 16, 2004, 734 people profited from this program of which the initial duration was fixed at 6 months renewable. For its part, Morocco is ready to prolong this program of visits in order to make it possible for a large number of families to benefit from it.