Senegal Reaffirms Support for Autonomy Plan in Sahara as ‘Appropriate Framework’

Senegal has reiterated to members of the UN Committee of 24 (C-24) its support for the autonomy plan, which remains the “appropriate framework” for resolving the regional dispute over the Moroccan Sahara. Speaking at the C-24 Pacific Regional Seminar held in Bali from 24 to 26 May, the Senegalese representative stressed that the autonomy initiative presented by Morocco in 2007 is in line with international law, the UN Charter and the resolutions of the General Assembly and the Security Council, which describe it as serious and credible. In this context, the diplomat praised the efforts made by the UN Secretary-General’s Personal Envoy for the Sahara, Staffan de Mistura, to relaunch the political process, with visits to the parties concerned in January, July and September, as well as the informal bilateral consultations held with these parties in New York last March. He also reiterated his country’s support for a final, just, lasting and mutually acceptable political solution through a process conducted under the exclusive auspices of the United Nations, on the basis of successive Security Council resolutions since 2007. Additionally, he urged all parties to continue, in the same format, the constructive momentum generated by the two Geneva roundtables, demonstrating realism and a spirit of compromise to ensure the successful outcome of the political process initiated by the United Nations. He also welcomed the “significant” progress made by Morocco in its Sahara, particularly in the promotion of human rights and democracy, as well as the “considerable” efforts made to promote the economic and social development of the region, while ensuring the empowerment of its people. “These efforts have finally convinced us of the Kingdom of Morocco’s determination to resolve this dispute once and for all,” he said, noting that in support of this policy, Senegal inaugurated its Consulate General in Dakhla on April 5, 2021. The Senegalese representative noted that 28 Governments from African, Arab, Latin American and Asian countries had already opened consulates in the Moroccan Sahara to help strengthen economic and social opportunities in the region. He also welcomed the participation of the Moroccan Sahrawi representatives elected in the Moroccan elections of 8 September 2021 in the important meetings and discussions of the Geneva roundtables, the C24 sessions and the regional seminars of this UN committee, adding that this is a “positive signal” that reinforces Senegal’s optimism for a successful outcome to this regional conflict. The Senegalese diplomat also stressed the importance of respecting the 1991 ceasefire for the stability of the region, and praised Morocco’s continued cooperation with MINURSO and its respect for the ceasefire.