C24: Côte d’Ivoire Reiterates “Full Support” for Moroccan Autonomy Plan

Côte d’Ivoire reiterated, during the C24 Caribbean Seminar held in Caracas (May 14-16), its “full support” for the Autonomy initiative presented by Morocco in order to put an end to the regional dispute over the Sahara. “My country would like to reaffirm its full support for the initiative of broad Autonomy for the Sahara proposed by Morocco, supported by more than 107 member states of the UN”, stressed Yassi Brou, Minister Counselor at the Permanent Mission of Côte d’Ivoire at the UN in New York. He underlined that the Autonomy initiative, which is consistent with international law, the UN Charter and relevant resolutions, mainly those of the Security Council and the General Assembly, takes into account the specificities of the Moroccan Sahara. “It gives the populations the opportunity to get actively involved in the management of the political and socio-economic life of the region,” he argued, noting that these populations freely choose their local and national representatives, during the various democratic elections held regularly in the Kingdom. In this respect, the Ivorian diplomat welcomed the participation in this seminar of certain elected officials from the Moroccan Sahara. He further noted that the climate of peace and stability experienced by the region advances its full socio-economic development, adding that the local population reap the dividends of the massive investments undertaken by Morocco as part of its new development model for the southern provinces. “These achievements have significantly raised the standard of living of the local populations and improved the Human Development Index of the Moroccan Sahara,” he indicated.  The speaker also highlighted the strengthening of the role of the Regional Human Rights Commissions in Laâyoune and Dakhla and Morocco’s exemplary cooperation with the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. These laudable initiatives and actions taken by Morocco deserve to be hailed and attest to the credibility of the broad Autonomy initiative which gives the inhabitants of the Moroccan Sahara numerous and important prerogatives. The diplomat also expressed his country’s “full” support for the UN “which constitutes the appropriate framework for the settlement of this long-standing regional dispute”, calling for the continuation of the political process carried out under the exclusive auspices of the United Nations, with a view to achieving a political, realistic, pragmatic and lasting solution that is based on compromise between all stakeholders. “My delegation welcomes the exclusivity of the UN in the search for a political outcome to the dispute over the Moroccan Sahara and welcomes the determination of the Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, to find a peaceful and definitive outcome,” he said. He also welcomed the visit to the Kingdom of the Personal Envoy of the UN SG for the Moroccan Sahara, Staffan de Mistura, on April 4, 2024. The diplomat urged the Personal Envoy to intensify his good offices in favor of resuming the round table process with the same participants and in the same format and dynamics as the two previous round tables held in 2018 and 2019 in Switzerland. With a view to holding the third round table, Côte d’Ivoire calls on all parties to resolutely engage in the UN process, as recommended by Security Council resolution 2703, he underlined.  In this regard, he indicated that his country “notes with satisfaction” the considerable efforts made by Morocco to reach a compromise solution to the regional dispute. He also welcomed the Kingdom’s respect of the military agreements, while inviting all stakeholders to respect the ceasefire and frank cooperation with MINURSO.  The speaker concluded by urging all stakeholders to remain mobilized throughout the political process in order to achieve a peaceful settlement of the regional dispute over the Moroccan Sahara.