Autonomy, A Just and Comprehensive Solution to the Conflict in The Sahara

In the regional dispute related to the topic of the Sahara, Morocco maintains the course set by the Security Council with the primary goal of achieving a mutually acceptable political solution, and all this through negotiation.

In this respect, Morocco has not wavered in his efforts, acting in good faith and with all available means to end this geopolitical dispute and end the humanitarian tragedy cynical calculations imposed on a portion of the Sahrawi people.

Morocco has always stated that the status quo is not only unacceptable, but also represents a serious risk to the Maghreb region and beyond. We can no longer afford to keep this region in such uncertainty that would end up worsening vulnerabilities.

Morocco has assumed full responsibility voluntarily and presented its initiative to negotiate an Autonomy Statute for the Sahara that provides a constructive response to the call of the Security Council, the Secretary General of the United Nations and to whole international community , that has continued to express the desire to reach a political solution to the regional problem.

Thus, after noting the inapplicability of both the 1991 Settlement Plan and the Baker II plan, the secretary general of the United Nations launched, in his report of October 18, 2004, and in April 2008, a call to end with the impasse and move towards a politicaly realistic slution in a spirit of compromise.

The preeminence of the Moroccan initiative has been recognized for the last seven Security Council resolutions. This Moroccan initiative highly appreciated by the international community, represents an effective and objective response to the recommendations made by the Security Council on the question of the Sahara and has clearly identified the spirit of compromise and realism as parameters for political solution desired.

Result of a participatory approach through an extensive consultation process at national and local levels, as well as regional and international level, the Moroccan initiative for negotiating a Statute of Autonomy is a powerful political act that reflects a sincere will and a firm commitment to move towards a political solution without winners or losers, and always within the framework of the United Nations.

Although neither pleases like some detractors, the preeminence of the Moroccan initiative has been recognized for the last seven resolutions adopted by the Security Council. The autonomy enjoyed the support and appreciation of a growing number of countries that do not hesitate to praise the efforts “serious and credible” made by Morocco.

First, this initiative is distinguished by being consistent with international standards, it ensures the people of the region the ability to manage their affairs democratically through legislative, executive and judicial measures.

On the other hand, it proposes a compromise solution in the framework of the Third Way with a vision of the political solution, fully conforming to international law while usefully draw on contemporary models regarding resolutions of disputes. A commitment that represents both a virtue praised by the international community, a sign of political will in favor of an agreement that favors dialogue, negotiation and reconciliation.

The autonomy proposal is also realistic as it allows accommodations, mutual concessions and a willingness to waive certain extreme positions. The Kingdom of Morocco has made the effort to present an open initiative, in line with the realities and specificities of the Sahara region.

It is also the appropriate response to the hopes and aspirations of the people, two thirds of which now live in the Sahara region, both in terms of integration and reconciliation and in terms of good governance and development.

Polisario however, merely continue defending alternatives whose inapplicability has been confirmed by the United Nations, the proposal of the other parties does not take into account the parameters of the Security Council and delays the resolution of this conflict, which has lasted too long. The former Personal Envoy of the Secretary General of the United Nations, Peter van Walsum, declared before the Security Council on April 21, 2008: “An independent Sahara is not a realistic option.”

The population in the Tindouf camps has been excluded and discarded any questions about what the Polisario calls its “proposal”. Worse, this population continues to suffer human rights violations and remains forced to live in deplorable conditions: the confusion that reigns in these fields, in Algerian territory, especially in terms of the actual number of refugees and legal responsibility of the host country , merely to accentuate and aggravate this ordeal.

Morocco, meanwhile, continues to fully meet its commitments in the framework of an irreversible process which aims to consolidate and strengthen even more, all the achievements, thus refuting definitively and categorically the allegations and claims disseminated by the other parties, who unfortunately exploited the noble human rights issues to divert the negotiation process on track.

It is noteworthy that after submitting this initiative for negotiating the Statute of Autonomy, Morocco has undertaken a series of reforms for the benefit of the southern provinces. Proof of this is the adoption of a new constitution that enshrines the component saharo-Hassani, launching a process of broad and ambitious regionalization which covers all regions of the country, beginning with the Sahara region, as well as extending the scope of rights and freedoms with the opening of regional offices of the National Human Rights Commission (CNDH) in the cities of Dakhla and Laayoune.

It should be noted also that the Regional Development Model for the Sahara region, recently presented to His Majesty King Mohammed VI by the President of the Economic, Social and Environmental Committee (EESC), is a true roadmap, as it proposes a platform which falls within the framework of advanced regionalization, and involves, among others, the economic, social, environmental and cultural. Similarly, emphasizes the need for public policy coherence and insists on the principle of governance in their fundamental human rights dimensions of devolution, decentralization, subsidiarity, transparency and accountability.

Morocco is willing to negotiate on the basis of well-defined conditions reaffirmed by the Security Council. This is precisely the position reported to Mr. Christopher Ross, Personal Envoy of the Secretary General of the United Nations, during his last visit to Morocco, both by the Government and political parties, as well as by members of civil society, with the order to move towards a political solution that guarantees peace, security and prosperity of all countries of the Maghreb.

Said Temsamani

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