‘One and Only Solution’: UN Petitioners Reaffirm Relevance of Morocco’s Autonomy Plan

Petitioners reaffirmed, Monday in New York, the relevance of the Moroccan autonomy initiative which remains the “one and only” solution to the regional dispute over the Sahara. “In 2007, Morocco presented the autonomy initiative as a solid basis for negotiations to achieve a final political solution, fair and accepted by all parties,” said Mohamad Ziyad Aljabar, the Moroccan-Palestinian Friendship Group, noting that the settlement of this regional dispute is unquestionably through autonomy within the framework of the sovereignty of Morocco. He has, in this context, highlighted the momentum of international support for this initiative and the legitimate rights of the Kingdom over its Sahara, citing the U.S. recognition of the Moroccan Sahara and the unequivocal support of several European countries to the autonomy plan, led by Spain and Germany. Noting that Morocco has, for years, reiterated its hand extended to Algeria, through the initiatives of HM King Mohammed VI and His calls for the reopening of borders and the resolution of outstanding issues, the speaker deplored that the “unjustified” decision of Algeria to break its relations with Morocco is at odds with the expectations and aspirations of the Maghreb peoples to strengthen cooperation to meet common challenges. “Algeria is called today to show wisdom and to engage seriously in the roundtable process in accordance with Security Council Resolution 2602 to achieve a final solution to this regional dispute on the basis of the Moroccan autonomy initiative,” he said, while warning against the threats posed by the separatist group “polisario” for the entire region. Aljabar also noted that the issue of the Moroccan Sahara is in no way similar to the Palestinian issue, stressing that HM King Mohammed VI has consistently reaffirmed that Morocco always places the Palestinian cause on the same level as the issue of the Moroccan Sahara and that the action of the Kingdom to enshrine its Moroccanity will never be, now or in the future, at the expense of the struggle of the Palestinian people to regain its legitimate rights. For her part, Erika Botero, lawyer and founding member of Derechos Humanos sin Fronteras, denounced the recruitment and indoctrination of minors in the camps of Tindouf by the armed separatist militias of the “polisario”. “Minors continue to be recruited in the camps of Tindouf to feed in them the voracity of war,” she said, noting that civil organizations, victims and human rights defenders have been denouncing for several years these practices in which this armed group on Algerian territory. These practices are increasing in these camps without the possibility that these children and their families can file a complaint against this group for all these violations, added the petitioner.