DO NOT IGNORE WESTERN SAHARA -- (House of Representatives - July 08, 2004)
(Mr. PITTS asked and was given permission to address the House for 1 minute and to revise and extend his remarks.)
Mr. PITTS. Mr. Speaker, the King of Morocco is in Washington to tout the newly signed U.S.-Morocco Free Trade Agreement. I am a free trader, but I have serious reservations about this plan.
Morocco today illegally occupies a country in West Africa known as Western Sahara. The King's government has promised people of Western Sahara, the Sahrawi, a vote to determine their own future. It has not happened, and it keeps delaying.
A decade after that promise, powerful friends help the Moroccan Government postpone this vote and consolidate control over the occupied territory. The Sahrawis are a peaceful, pro-Western and prodemocracy people. Despite living under an illegitimate colonial power, they have established a deep-rooted culture of democracy capable of supporting a viable state. They elect their own leaders, many of them women, provide education and equal rights to all of their citizens, men and women.
The only stability a sovereign democratic Western Sahara disrupts is a status quo defined by tyranny. We should keep that in mind when we vote on the trade agreement on the House floor.