Sahara: Côte d’Ivoire Underlines that Autonomy Plan is in Line with International Law and UN Resolutions

Côte d’Ivoire underlined on Monday, before the Committee of 24 of the UN General Assembly, that the Moroccan autonomy initiative, as a solution to the Sahara issue, is in line with international law and the resolutions of the Security Council and the General Assembly of the United Nations. “Côte d’Ivoire welcomes Morocco’s efforts, in particular its autonomy initiative in the Sahara aimed at achieving a negotiated and mutually acceptable political solution, based on realism, as recommended by the relevant resolutions of the Security Council”, stressed before the Committee the Ambassador Deputy Permanent Representative of Côte d’Ivoire to the UN, Ibrahima Toure. He also said that his country “welcomes” the new development model in the Sahara launched in 2015 and which should lead to “the political, economic, social and cultural empowerment” of the inhabitants of this region, while commending Morocco’s efforts to promote human rights in the Sahara, as well as its actions aimed at ensuring wide access of local populations to the COVID-19 vaccine. “All these actions testify to the credibility of the broad autonomy initiative in the Sahara presented by Morocco, and for which Côte d’Ivoire reiterates its strong support,” said the diplomat. He also reaffirmed his country’s full support for the exclusive UN political process carried out under the auspices of the Secretary-General, while welcoming the “significant progress” recorded by the former Personal Envoy of the Secretary-General for the Sahara, Horst Kohler, whose good offices made it possible in particular to hold two round tables, in December 2018 and March 2019 in Switzerland, with the participation of Algeria, Morocco, Mauritania and the “Polisario”. “My country therefore remains optimistic about the commitment expressed during the first two meetings in Switzerland by the stakeholders to take part in a third meeting, in the same format, with a view to deepening the debate on the elements of convergence”, he added. In this perspective, the appointment of a Personal Envoy of the Secretary-General is strongly desired in order to continue and consolidate the positive dynamic initiated by his predecessor, the diplomat pointed out. “My delegation considers that it is necessary, in the interest of the parties and the countries of the region, to carry on negotiations on the Sahara dispute in order to reach a fair and lasting solution, which draws its international legitimacy from the relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions,” he said. A political solution will lead to the peaceful settlement of this long-standing regional dispute and contribute to the strengthening of cooperation between the Member States of the Arab Maghreb Union, while strengthening stability and security in the Sahel region, in addition to its impact in terms of the social and economic development of this area and the well-being of its populations, Toure added. He also voiced support to the urgent appeals of the UN Secretary-General to all parties, so that they refrain from all actions that may hamper commercial and civilian traffic, and commended, in this regard, the peaceful operation led by Morocco on November 13, 2020, in order to ensure free movement in the passage of Guerguarate.