"Morocco stood up, throughout history, against any attempts threatening its territorial integrity and it will not accept, now or any time in the future, the policy of the fait accompli," Mr. Chakib Benmoussa said in a speech, on behalf of the Moroccan delegation, at the opening of the third round of UN-led talks on the Sahara, which kicked off on Tuesday in Manhasset, outskirts of New York, under the aegis of the United Nations.
The minister insisted that Morocco will spare no effort to "preserve its national unity and territorial integrity in order to spare the entire region the perils of balkanization."
Here follows the full text of the speech:
Excellency, the Personal Envoy of the UN Secretary-General,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
The Kingdom of Morocco is taking part in this third round, with the same confidence, good faith and resolve to engage in serious negotiations that marked its participation in the two previous Manhasset rounds. Thus reiterates its principled commitment to the UN resolutions, and is responding to the kind invitation of the UN Secretary-General, His Excellency Ban Ki-moon, and to the good offices of his Personal Envoy, Peter van Walsum.
Subscribing to the new United Nations approach, Morocco took the main, courageous and decisive initiative by submitting an innovative and promising autonomy proposal, within the framework of the Kingdom’s inalienable national unity and territorial integrity.
Having taken that initiative, the Kingdom of Morocco expects our brothers here present and the really concerned neighboring countries whose cooperation the Security Council has sought - to create conditions conducive to the success of negotiations on this Initiative.
Morocco and the world community are expecting the other parties as well to take move forward the initiative, trigger a new dynamic action and boost the momentum created by Morocco. They should make constructive proposals as part of an earnest negotiating process designed to find a lasting, realistic and mutually acceptable political solution to the Sahara question.
Au tonomy is the most efficient and suitable means whereby all Sahrawi tribes and populations may, wherever they are, exercise once again their self-determination. Indeed, it became clear to the Security Council and the international community that the previously unrealistic solutions were fruitless and inapplicable, and that they took neither the specificities of the region nor those of the dispute into account.
The Security Council was right when it unanimously commended, in Resolution 1754, the recent developments and the efforts exerted by Morocco to achieve a just, lasting and acceptable political solution, and when it singled out the Moroccan efforts as being serious and credible.
Notwithstanding the present state of the negotiations, we are called upon, together and not just Morocco, to make this Initiative the starting point and final objective of the negotiation process launched and sponsored by the United Nations. It is thanks to the Moroccan initiative that we are meeting here today on the third round of negotiation.
In the subsequent Resolution 1783, the Security Council reasserted this approach and called on the parties to bear in mind the efforts undertaken since 2006, in a clear reference to different stages the Moroccan initiative, from elaboration until its presentation to the international community.
Further more, the General Assembly has adopted a new approach clarifying its doctrine concerning the principle of self-determination as regards this conflict in utter agreement with the Security Council.
In this respect, Morocco has gone forth consolidating its democratic process by holding general elections, which were unanimously described by international observers as fair and credible. It also set up local and regional mechanisms to promote human rights and expand the scope of liberties, under the rule of law.
Concurrently, Morocco has pursued its effective, tangible development efforts in the provinces of Saguia El Hamra and Oued Dhahab, turning the Sahara into a vast construction and development site, as part of an integrated development plan designed to foster life with dignity for all the inhabitants of the Sahara.
Morocco will not be perturbed by the deceptive agitations and intrigues which only compound the sufferings of the populations concerned, and which are inconsistent with the spirit of negotiations. Instead, it will forge ahead with the national solidarity launched more than thirty years ago to develop all parts of its Saharan Provinces. It will not give up an inch of
its Sahara, and it will see to it that the Kingdom’s real borders are respected.
Mr. Personal Envoy of the UN Secretary-General,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Morocco is participating in good faith in this third negotiation round. It is extending its hand, showing it wants dialogue and understanding to prevail. The aim is to achieve reconciliation and to put an end to the suffering of our brothers in the Tindouf camps, south of Algeria, through committed dialogue, in a constructive and civilized way.
It is, indeed, regrettable that the other party is still clinging to an extreme, invariable position and to ineffective and fruitless approaches which the international community deemed inapplicable. The other party is seeking, adamantly but vainly, to breathe new life into former proposals for no other purpose than to undermine the efforts made to achieve a more
realistic political solution. Worse still, it is brandishing the threat of war, issuing cheap, unacceptable threats to resort to armed struggle.
In any case, Morocco is in its territory, believes in the legitimacy of its rights and is committed to international legality and to a political settlement based on autonomy. My country deplores the other party’s rigid attitude.
In this respect Morocco calls on the international community to put an end to this situation which is not in keeping with the principle of negotiation, and which goes against the United Nations’ desire to create conditions that shore up the confidence needed for any serious negotiations.
We have the right - and in fact the international community has the duty - to wonder about the real intentions of parties which threaten to go to war.
These threats can only encourage risky plans to turn our sensitive region into a rear base for terrorism, illegal migration and trafficking in human beings and weapons.
This situation would have dreadful consequences for each of the five Maghreb countries. What our region needs, in fact, is sustainable development and concerted action to guarantee security and stability, promote democracy, and protect not only our peoples against terrorism, but also the Sahel and Sahara region, North Africa and Western Europe.
Morocco therefore calls on those who have been holding our brothers in Tindouf area under yoke for decades to listen to reason and to seize the historical moment. The initial goal of the populations concerned to run their regional affairs freely, as part of an extensive democratic system, is guaranteed under the autonomy project within a new democratic united, prosperous and strong Morocco.
We also invite them to draw lessons from the growing support expressed by their fellow Moroccan Sahrawi brothers, wherever they are, for the autonomy Initiative, which guarantees full-fledged citizenship, dignity and family reunification.
We would like to take this opportunity to say how much we value this clear-sighted position which consolidates the nation’s unanimity as well as the extensive international support the Moroccan Initiative has received.
We also expect the sister nation Algeria to participate positively in the political negotiation process at this historical juncture. Indeed, we all must live up to the expectations not only of our peoples, who look forward to building a prosperous Maghreb Union, but to those of the international community as well, which is expecting a consensual and democratic solution
to this long lasting regional dispute.
In this respect, let me say, in all frankness, that Morocco condemns and rejects any attempt to impose situations as facts on the ground, or to undermine the Kingdom’s territorial integrity, inside its true borders, or the nation’s immutable, inalienable sovereignty.
Morocco stood up, throughout history, against any attempts threatening its territorial integrity and it will not accept, now or any time in the future, the policy of the fait accompli. It will preserve its national unity and territorial integrity in order to spare the entire region the perils of balkanization. These perils entail hard-to-control consequences, and their instigators may well be the first casualties.
Morocco commends the presence of the sister nation Mauritania in these negotiations as well as the role it is playing to promote a consensual political solution that guarantees security and stability in the region and help the Mauritanian people and leadership to create proper conditions for sustainable development. Given this country’s wisdom, its presence in these
negotiations provides an added value, promotes the spirit of Maghreb solidarity and brotherhood, and contributes to seizing this historical momentum.
Mr. the Personal Envoy of the UN Secretary-General,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Our region and the world are hoping this third round will enable us, by the grace of the Almighty and the good will of all of us, to go into substantive negotiations on the details and specifics of a lasting, consensual political solution based on a precise timetable and clear,
Morocco is prepared to introduce its initiative and to discuss it in detail, section by section, to show that an autonomy based on democratic and representative institutions operating within the framework of the Kingdom’s sovereignty and national and territorial integrity is the most suitable course of action to achieve the desired solution.
Morocco considers that successful negotiations based on the autonomy initiative would be a victory not simply for the Moroccan people, but for all Maghreb peoples who yearn for unity and integration. We want such a solution to be a triumph for the universal values of peace and for security, stability, democracy, dignity, human rights, development, progress, prosperity and the peaceful settlement of disputes.
As such, this solution would be a triumph for the lofty values of the United Nations, under whose auspices we are meeting today. It would also be consistent with the logic of history and the inevitability of our common destiny.
Whatever the difficulties, Morocco will go ahead with its peaceful, development-oriented agenda, building on the mobilization of all of the nation’s components, for the benefit not only of Saharan tribes and populations, but also our steadfast people and all sister and friendly
Before concluding, Morocco wishes to thank The UN Secretary General, His Excellency Mr. Ban Ki-moon, the Under-Secretary General for Political Affairs, Mr. Lynn Pascoe, the Personal Envoy for the Sahara, Mr. Peter van Walsum and all their Assistants and the UN organs as well as all sister and friendly sates who have constantly supported negotiation and reconciliation efforts to break the stalemate.
This is the realistic and just solution, which fulfils the aspirations of current and future generations. It will make it possible, at national, regional and international levels, to pool our resources and to devote them to building democracy, promoting respect for human rights, achieving development and integration, and consolidating security and stability. Such a lasting solution would promote coexistence between our peoples and help us preserve our longstanding brotherly ties, whatever the circumstances. We would thus be worthy of our common past and go down in history as peacemakers and as advocates of unity and concord.
This is the policy of the Kingdom of Morocco. We call on our brothers to show courage and sound judgment, and to uphold the bonds of kinship by joining us in building peace, and rejecting dissensions, rancor and tensions. With good will and sincere intentions, I know they can.
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