Source: Al-Akhbar (Mauritania)
Text of report by Mauritanian independent news agency Al-Akhbar website
In a speech in which he inaugurated today, Tuesday 11 November 2007, the national conference for consultation, Mauritanian President Sidi Mohamed Ould Cheikh Abdellahi said Mauritania would guarantee a dignified return for all Mauritanian refugees and would guarantee their rights to lead a dignified life by working according to a detailed plan which Mauritania was seeking to draw up in cooperation with its international partners.
Ould Cheikh Abdellahi, who was addressing 754 Mauritanian officials, stressed the importance of the conference on consultation as the general framework which would lead to a series of measures required for the dignified return of the refugees. He said the consultation included all Mauritanians in the country and abroad and that the clearing of human legacy and the rebuilding of national unity on the basis of justice and equality is an irreversible option.
Ould Cheikh Abdellahi said the debate over the issue of refugees and the deported, which aims to clear the human legacy, included all political groups, political parties and civil society movements. He said the conference came to consolidate the national consensus which had been reached on this issue, particularly in the recent months.
The conference also aims to reach an agreement on a unified action programme which would include a series of measures and mechanisms capable of guaranteeing a successful return of the refugees and their reintegration which would avoid any possible shortcomings.
Ould Cheikh Abdellahi said the settlement of the issue of refugees would not take place at the expense of any party but was a process which would render justice to the victims of injustice. He said Mauritania would take all the appropriate measures to guarantee a dignified life to its citizens, including the refugees.
Ould Cheikh Abdellahi touched on the issue of the Mauritanians displaced to Senegal, which, he said, was an issue which concerned the Mauritanian state. He promised to review the issue to find out about the progress made and what could be possible to do in the future in favour of those who suffered from the 1989 incidents.
The Mauritanian president described the conference as a decisive step towards honouring his pledge to the voters during the election campaign, which was crowned by a speech which he delivered on 29 July 2007 in which he admitted the problem and promised to find urgent solutions. He said the conference would consolidate dialogue and further national consensus over the issue.
The Mauritanian president reassured the non-Black population by saying that the expected return of the refugees would not be at the expense of anybody but it would merely settle the legacy of citizens oppressed by the state and that the settlement of accounts was unacceptable and was not expected to happen in the future.