Morocco-Green March: Sahara, Africa, Maghreb core issues of King Mohammed VI’s speech

“Morocco has always been clear in its position concerning the Moroccanness of the Sahara as much as in its firm belief in the justness of its cause and the legitimacy of its rights,” said King Mohammed VI on Wednesday.

It is, therefore, honestly and in good faith that Morocco will continue to work to achieve a political, realistic, practical and consensual solution based exclusively on the political approach adopted by the United Nations Organization and the relevant Security Council resolutions, said the Monarch in a speech on the occasion of the 44th anniversary of the Green March that allowed the Kingdom to liberate its southern provinces from Spanish occupation.

“The Autonomy Initiative provides for that solution, given that it is not only serious and credible, but also rooted in sound principles,” the King said, insisting that “it is the only way forward towards a settlement guaranteeing full respect for the Kingdom’s national unity and territorial integrity.”

For the King of Morocco, this perspective has been reinforced by the ever increasing number of countries, more than 163 to date, which do not recognize the fictitious SADR entity.

“The Green March has always been the best illustration of the effective cohesion between the Throne and the people. It is testimony to the ability of Moroccans – the King and the people – to rise to the challenges facing the nation,” the Monarch said.

“This is a never-ending march. Indeed, the spirit which enabled us to recover the Sahara in 1975 is the same one which urges us today to achieve development in all the regions of the Kingdom.”

In this connection, King Mohammed VI noted that the Souss-Massa region is actually the center of Morocco and has enormous potential, so, it is not reasonable that some basic infrastructure should end at Marrakech.

“For this reason, I invite the authorities concerned to give serious thought to the development of a rail link between Marrakech and Agadir, as a first step before extending it to the rest of the southern regions. We should also expand the road network, which I am seeking to further develop through the construction of the Agadir-Dakhla highway,” he said.

The railway line will contribute to opening up the regions concerned, in addition to stimulating development and economic prosperity, especially with regard to the transport of people and goods and the promotion of exports, tourism and other economic activities, the Monarch argued, adding that it will also create many job opportunities, not just in Souss-Massa, but in all surrounding regions, too.

This orientation is part of the framework of advanced regionalization and the equitable distribution of wealth between all the regions of the Kingdom, he explained, calling for harmonious, integrated regions that benefit, on an equal footing, from infrastructure and major projects that should be profitable to all.

Regional development should be based on cooperation and complementarity between regions. Each region should have a major economic hub developed around its potential and specificities, he said.

It is worth recalling that since the Speech the King delivered from Laayoune, on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of the Green March, the development of the Sahara Provinces has been boosted with the realization, over the past two years, of 87 projects worth 7 billion Dirhams and State investments will increase from 77 to 81 billion dirhams by 2020.

In addition, the new Dakhla Atlantic Port, worth $96 million, will generate 183,000 jobs by 2030 and will constitute a hub of trade with Africa and Latin America.

In his speech, the sovereign also reaffirmed Morocco’s commitment to sound and solid relations with sister Maghreb nations.

“My keenness to achieve fair, balanced development in all the Kingdom’s regions is just as strong as my commitment to establishing sound, solid relations with sister Maghreb countries,“ he said.

He emphasized the need of a stronger Maghreb to meet the ambitions of the youth and the corporate community for an integrated region.