Sahara: Gabon Reaffirms Support for Morocco’s Autonomy Plan

Gabon has reiterated, before the 4th committee of the UN General Assembly in New York, its support for the Autonomy plan which presents “credible and reassuring” prospects to end the regional dispute over the Sahara. “Gabon reiterates its support for the Moroccan Autonomy initiative for it presents credible and reassuring prospects allowing not only to end the current political deadlock, but also to reach an acceptable and negotiated political solution”, underlined the Representative of Gabon, Lia Bouanga Ayoune. She noted that more than a hundred countries have expressed their support for the settlement proposed by Morocco in order to put an end to this artificial dispute. The Gabonese diplomat also hailed the efforts made by the Personal Envoy of the UN Secretary-General to the Sahara, Staffan de Mistura, who “works incessantly for the relaunch of the political process under the exclusive auspices of the United Nations”. “His commitment to the success of his mission stands out through the visits he made in 2022 to Morocco, Algeria, Mauritania and the Tindouf camps, as well as through the informal bilateral consultations he held,” she said. She pointed out that this diplomatic dynamic is an “encouraging sign” which calls for the resumption of the roundtable process with the four participants: Morocco, Algeria, Mauritania and the “polisario”, inviting all these parties to commit throughout this process, in a spirit of compromise, with a view to reaching a political solution to the regional dispute over the Moroccan Sahara, as recommended by Security Council resolutions. The diplomat also said that her country is encouraged by the positive dynamic of the situation on the ground, marked mainly by the participation of the representatives of the Moroccan Sahara in the various C-24 regional seminars. On the economic level, Morocco is exerting permanent efforts to improve the living conditions of the populations of the Southern provinces, she further indicated, pointing out that the New development model for these provinces, launched in 2015, had a strong upward impact on the human development indices in this region. “Obviously, this social and economic progress strengthens international cooperation in the region”, while many countries, from all the regions of the world, including Gabon, have opened Consulate-General in Laayoune and Dakhla, she said. Referring to human rights, the representative of Gabon hailed Morocco’s “substantial” achievements in this field, citing the strengthening of the role of the regional commissions of the National Human Rights Council in Laayoune and Dakhla and the bilateral cooperation with the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Treaty bodies and special procedures of the Human Rights Council. “These efforts have been welcomed by Security Council resolutions, mainly resolution 2654”, she recalled. She ended by saying that Gabon “encourages” Morocco to pursue its efforts to preserve the ceasefire and its cooperation with MINURSO, calling all the other parties to follow suit in the interest of the security and stability of the whole region.