A Moroccan website is attempting to discredit the Danish General, Kurt Mosgaard, who was the commanding officer for MINURSO in Western Sahara for two years.
By Ingrid Pedersen
The Moroccan propaganda website www.polisario-confidential.org has attempted, in two recent articles, to discredit the Danish General, Kurt Mosgaard, and accuses him of supporting Polisario. One of the photographs in the articles show, claims the author, the General wearing a traditional Sahrawi article of clothing over his uniform, affixed to which is a SADR pin or emblem. He is pictured together with the Defence Minister for Western Sahara, Mohammed Lamine Bouhali.
Another article shows a photograph of General Mosgaard together with leaders of Polisario in a refugee camp close to Tindouf.
"I have certainly never borne a Polisario emblem on my clothing", Kurt Mosgaard replied relaxedly to the articles.
The object depicted on the photograph can not be clearly seen, and it is hard to verify whether it is there at all.
"I do not know if the photograph has been manipulated or if the emblem has been placed there by someone", he further stated.
He received two or three pieces of traditional Sahrawi clothing as gifts, the latest being given on his farewell tour of the area. The clothing, however, has no connection with Polisario.
"Many Sahrawis wear traditional clothing, also those who are members of CORCAS in the Moroccan controlled part of Western Sahara. I was always treated respectfully during my meetings with the conflicting parties, so it was natural for me to be correspondingly respectful and accommodating, just like back home in Jylland", he mentioned with a gleam in his eye.
CORCAS is a controversial pro-Moroccan Council comprised of Sahrawis, but constituted by the King of Morocco.
Mosgaard also stated that it was a normal part of his duties to meet with military leaders of Polisario.
"It was my duty to meet with them, to solve problems and strengthen mutual trust whilst at the same time increase understanding of the UNs work in Western Sahara. I strived to always meet the military leaders of the two parties involved the same number of times; they were all accommodating and friendly people", he said.
Norwegian interview causes indignation
It would appear that Kurt Mosgaards statements, published in a magazine interview issued by the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC), have irritated the Moroccans. The author of the website articles makes direct reference to the NRC interview, and falsely accuses the Norwegian Refugee Council of being a “pro-Polisario” organization.
This may be an attempt, by the Moroccans, to cast doubt on Kurt Mosgaard's impartiality and thereby possibly influencing him to avoid any further interviews.
The website also states that Kurt Mosgaard removed the Moroccan flag from MINURSO headquarters in El Aaiứn, thereby causing civil unrest in the town. In reality, however, no unrest was reported anywhere in the town.
Kurt Mosgaard confirmed that he did have the flag removed from the UN headquarters, but his reason for doing so was to accentuate the impartiality of the UN.
The decision to remove the flag was correct and completely in accordance with UN regulations. A decision that, in reality, is advantageous to all the concerned parties in need of an impartial UN mediator.
Buildings and other installations belonging to the UN shall always be seen as impartial objects. That the Moroccan flag was flown over the UN headquarters for 16 years was in direct contravention of the UN's own regulations.
Moroccan number plates on UN vehicles
UN vehicles west of the sand-wall continually use Moroccan number plates instead of the white UN number plates that UN vehicles use in all other parts of the world.
The use of Moroccan plates gives the local population the impression that the UN is not impartial, and that they are in fact aligned with the Moroccans in the dispute.
The UN and MINURSO have not, as yet, resolved this problem.
www.polisario-confidential.org has not reported on this topic on their website.
There is presently a good deal of activity within the UN regarding the situation in Western Sahara. MINURSO's mandate is shortly due for renewal; and the Moroccan accusations aimed at the Danish General may possibly be connected with the Security Council decision to discuss the situation towards the end of April.
www.polisario-confidential.org is an anonymous website, registered via a proxy-server in Arizona, USA. A group of bloggers have tried to find out who is actually behind the page. See their discussions here:
One of the theories, is that it is put up by an American PR bureau, paid by Morocco:
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