Autonomy Initiative, The ‘One and Only’ Solution to Regional Dispute over Moroccan Sahara – Hilale –

The Moroccan autonomy initiative, within the framework of the Kingdom’s territorial integrity and national sovereignty, is the “one and only” solution to the artificial regional dispute over the Moroccan Sahara, stressed, Tuesday in New York, the ambassador and permanent representative of Morocco to the United Nations, Omar Hilale. In Morocco’s statement during the general debate of the 78th session of the UN General Assembly, Mr. Hilale stressed that the Moroccan initiative is backed by more than 100 countries around the world, at a time when almost 30 states and regional organizations opened consulates general in the cities of Laâyoune and Dakhla, thus reaffirming their full support for the Moroccanness of the Sahara. The diplomat pointed out that the Kingdom remains committed to a final political solution to the artificial regional dispute over the Moroccan Sahara that would strengthen development and stability in the region as well as in Africa. Noting that Morocco continues to support the efforts of the UN Secretary General and his Personal Envoy for the Sahara, Staffan de Mistura, aimed at relaunching the round table process in the same format and with the same participants, particularly Algeria, the main party to the conflict, in accordance with the Security Council resolution 2654, the ambassador reiterated that the final solution to this regional dispute can only be political, realistic and pragmatic based on compromise. Referring to the current socio-economic dynamics in the southern provinces, the diplomat said that as part of the new development model to which the Kingdom has mobilized a budget which now exceeds 10 billion dollars and whose completion rate is around 81%, several social and economic projects have been launched, thus enabling the region to establish itself as a hub for commercial exchanges between Africa and the rest of the world. Mr. Hilale underlined that the Personal Envoy of the UN Secretary-General for the Sahara, Staffan de Mistura, witnessed these achievements first-hand during his visit, in early September, to Laâyoune and Dakhla in the Moroccan Sahara. “This major effort is part of the implementation of the High Instructions of His Majesty King Mohammed VI, may God assist him, contained in the Sovereign’s speech on the occasion of the 47th anniversary of the Green March dated November 6, 2022,” he recalled. In this speech, His Majesty the King pointed out: “Our action to defend the Moroccanness of the Sahara is based on a holistic approach that combines not only political and diplomatic action, but also efforts to promote economic, social and human development in the region.” The ambassador stressed that Morocco once again expresses its deep concern over the catastrophic humanitarian situation in the Tindouf camps, where the host country, Algeria, ceded its powers, illegally, to an armed separatist militia with proven and confirmed links to terrorist and criminal networks. This situation calls out to the international community regarding Algeria’s refusal to allow the registration and census of populations held against their will in the camps, in flagrant violation of international law and calls from the Security Council launched since 2011, said Mr. Hilale, who condemned the misappropriation of humanitarian aid intended for people held in the Tindouf camps as evidenced by reports issued by international and regional and NGO’s, the latest of which is that of the World Food Program (WFP) published in January 2023.