Sahara: Union of Comoros Reaffirms Support for Autonomy Initiative as ‘Compromise Solution’

The Union of Comoros reaffirmed, in New York, its support to the Moroccan autonomy initiative to reach an “acceptable and legitimate” compromise solution to the regional dispute over the Moroccan Sahara. Speaking before the 4th Committee of the UN General Assembly, the Deputy Permanent Representative of the Union of Comoros to the UN, Ahmed Abdallah, stressed that his country remains “convinced” that the Moroccan autonomy initiative is “the acceptable and legitimate compromise solution” to the Moroccan Sahara issue. This plan “not only takes into account the specificities of the region and follows the logic of compromise, meeting the highest international standards in the devolution of power to local populations, but it is also consistent with international law, the UN Charter and relevant resolutions of the General Assembly and the Security Council,” he explained. Welcoming the appointment of the new Personal Envoy of the UN SG for the Moroccan Sahara, Staffan de Mistura, the Comorian diplomat also hailed the process of round table meetings, with the participation of Algeria, Morocco, Mauritania and the “polisario”, aimed at achieving a “realistic, pragmatic, sustainable and compromise” solution to this regional dispute. In addition, he highlighted the ongoing economic development in the southern provinces through the “commendable” investments, led by the Kingdom, as part of the development model of the Sahara, launched in 2015. This is a model “which has allowed, among other things, to empower the populations of the Moroccan Sahara and raise the Human Development Indexes,” he said, noting that the opening of consular missions in the Moroccan Sahara is a “concrete illustration” of this policy. This “dynamic momentum” has also helped to better engage in the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic in the Moroccan Sahara, the diplomat added, noting that Morocco has provided wide access to the anti-COVID vaccine. The official also welcomed the recent holding of general, legislative and communal elections, which recorded a turnout of over 66% in the southern provinces, noting that these elections, which are a “proof” of the democratic momentum in the region, were held in “democratic, free and transparent atmosphere, without incident, as confirmed by all domestic and international observers”. The participation of elected representatives of the Moroccan Sahara in the regional seminars of the C24, including those of last August, as well as in the meetings of the Special Committee and the round table meetings in Geneva, “shows the inclusive nature of the democratic process underway,” said the diplomat. The strengthening of the role of regional commissions of the National Human Rights Council in Laayoune and Dakhla, represents a “major step forward” towards peace and security, as well as the enhancement of bilateral cooperation with the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, welcomed by Security Council resolutions, including resolution 2548, he added. He also commended the respect by the Moroccan authorities of the ceasefire in the Sahara, as well as the peaceful action taken on November 13, 2020, ending the obstruction by armed elements of the separatist group, the “polisario”, of the passage of El Guergarat, and definitely restoring the free movement. The Comorian diplomat expressed his country’s “concern” about the situation of the populations in the Tindouf camps, stressing the need to register them, in accordance with international humanitarian law, the recommendations of the UN Secretary General and all Security Council resolutions since 2011, including Resolution 2548.