Portugal supports autonomy initiative
according to minister Antonio Costa.
"The Moroccan initiative for the negotiation of an autonomy statute in the Sahara ushers in the way to solve a problem that concerns the whole region and concerns us as well," said, here Thursday, visiting Portuguese Interior administration minister Antonio Costa.
Morocco's initiative to grant substantial autonomy to its Southern Provinces (The Sahara) is "important, credible and serious," the Portuguese official told the press on the fringes of a meeting with Moroccan Interior Minister, Chakib Benmoussa, and Delegate Interior Minister, Fuad Ali Al Himma.
"We share the United Nations Security Council's point of view and we hail Morocco's proposal," he went on to say.
On April 11 Morocco submitted a proposal to the UN Security Council that suggests launching negotiations between the parties to the Sahara issue, which broke out in 1976 because of claims from the Polisario to separate the Sahara from the rest of the north-west African kingdom.
The Sahara had been ceded a year earlier by Spain under the Madrid Accord. On April 30, the UN Security Council passed a resolution calling on the parties to enter into direct negotiations to solve the problem.
During the meeting, the two parties discussed, among other points, the Portuguese presidency of the European Union and the Euro-Med conference on migration – billed for next November in Portugal- in which Morocco will"play a major role as a transit area for sub-Saharan immigration to Europe.”The two parties also pondered on means to strengthen cooperation between the two countries’ security departments to fight terrorism and crime syndicates.
An important delegation, headed by Antonio Costa, started a two-day official visit to Morocco on Wednesday.