Morocco Insists on Saharan Issue Resolution Only Within Autonomy Framework

05 April

Nasser Bourita, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, African Cooperation, and Moroccans Expatriates, held talks in Rabat with the UN Secretary-General's Personal Envoy for Western Sahara, Staffan de Mistura.


The Moroccan foreign ministry stated, "The talks took place in an atmosphere characterized by frankness, positivity, and constructive spirit, in the presence of Ambassador Omar Hilal, the Permanent Representative of the Kingdom of Morocco to the UN."


De Mistura's visit aims to revive the political process through roundtable discussions involving Morocco, Algeria, Mauritania, and the POLISARIO Front (Popular Front for the Liberation of Saguia el-Hamra and Rio de Oro). This format is defined by UNSC resolutions as "the sole means to achieve a realistic, pragmatic, and enduring political settlement based on compromise."


Morocco reiterated its steadfast stance, emphasizing that the political process must occur in a roundtable format with Algeria's full participation. Furthermore, Morocco asserted that there can be no solution to "the Sahrawi issue outside the framework of the Moroccan autonomy initiative proposed in 2007". Additionally, the foreign ministry underscored that a serious political process cannot proceed while POLISARIO fighters breach the ceasefire daily.


A prolonged conflict


Western Sahara has long been embroiled in an international dispute. The POLISARIO Front, established in the mid-1970s, seeks Western Sahara's independence and declared the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic following the departure of Spanish colonizers. Armed conflict ensued with Algeria's support.


Fighting persisted until 1991 when the UN deployed a peacekeeping mission. Despite numerous international peace initiatives, the dispute remains unresolved due to the parties' entrenched positions.


Morocco asserts Western Sahara as integral to the Kingdom, permitting autonomy only within its sovereignty. Since June 2007, Morocco and the POLISARIO Front have held four rounds of negotiations, all inconclusive.



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Based on materials from TASS