US Decision "Brings Us Closer To Solution" To Conflict That Lasted Too Long
The American decision to recognize the full and entire sovereignty of Morocco over the whole of its Sahara inaugurates "a reinforced momentum in favor of a realistic and lasting political solution based on compromise in the framework of autonomy," said Minister of Foreign Affairs, African Cooperation and Moroccans Abroad Nasser Bourita in a column published Wednesday by the magazine Jeune Afrique.
The US decision should be "measured against the prospect of a solution that it offers to this dispute which has lasted too long, to bring us closer to lasting stability and security in a highly strategic sub-continent," underlined the minister in this tribune published under the title "Morocco: in the Sahara, an American decision which brings us closer to a solution".
According to Bourita, the weight of the American decision is "to be read in the light of its author: global power, permanent member of the Security Council" and "major ally" of Morocco, with which strategic relations have been built over the past twenty years, under the insightful leadership of HM King Mohammed VI.
These relationships, rooted in history and turned towards the future, have been consolidated by the different administrations, he said.
Denouncing the fact that the Polisario separatists did not wait for the American decision to break the ceasefire and carry out harassment actions "which are insignificant", Bourita noted that, in the conflict over the Sahara, two visions are opposed.
On the one hand, that of Morocco, carried by its Sovereign, who wants the future to be better than the past, and who invests massively to build it with more than 7 billion dollars over ten years in the southern provinces alone, thus responding to the Royal Vision of not leaving the populations hostage to the political process which is in stalemate.
On the other hand, that of the other parties, who favor the status quo, preventing regional economic integration, threatening security in an unstable region and ignoring the humanitarian consequences at stake", lamented the minister.
For him, "it is in the light of these data that the American decision must be assessed", adding that it "inaugurates a reinforced momentum in favor of a realistic and lasting political solution based on compromise within the framework of autonomy”.
“It is this sense of compromise, typical of its thousand-year-old tradition of central state, which has allowed Morocco to evolve towards a logic of extended autonomy where the population of the Moroccan Sahara can manage its political, economic and social affairs, through regional legislative, executive and judicial bodies,” he said.
Bourita also noted that the United States is well aware of the genesis and evolution of the issue, its dynamics and challenges, noting that the process, of which the autonomy initiative is the result, is the outcome of “in-depth consultations between HM the King and the Clinton administration".
Submitted in consultation with the Bush Republican administration, it was later backed by the Obama administration, a Democrat one. These successive administrations have all given their support to autonomy as a solution to this regional dispute, recalled the minister, noting that the presidential proclamation of the Trump administration came “to crown this process and to explain a constant position of support for twenty years.”
Support that goes hand in hand with the recognition of national sovereignty and territorial integrity, he said, adding that beyond the support they provide to Morocco through public political declarations, the United States has made available to it, since 2015, a financial line for the benefit of the provinces of the Moroccan Sahara.
Likewise, he went on, the trade agreements concluded with the European Union apply to the southern provinces of the Kingdom, noting that the strong support of the United States “therefore only surprises ignorance and amnesia”.
He said that the American proclamation is also in phase with the evolution of the issue within the United Nations, firstly through the declarations of many former UN envoys who had insisted that "the independence of the Sahara" was not a realistic option, and then through the latest seventeen Security Council resolutions which have enshrined a clear doctrine, calling for a "realistic, pragmatic and lasting political solution", while marking the pre-eminence of the serious and credible efforts of Morocco to break the deadlock.
To achieve this, Morocco remains faithful to the political process under the auspices of the United Nations, on the basis of clear parameters, involving the real parties to the regional dispute, noted the minister.
“HM the King has made a commitment to the Secretary General of the United Nations, António Guterres”, noted the Minister, adding that it is “essential to stress that the political process is not an end in itself” but rather “a path”.
For him, those who think they would upset Morocco by opposing its autonomy initiative are only “serving a dead end and in reality opposing the sole promise of a solution without winner or loser, and which benefits from an increasingly strong international support”.
He recalled the 42 countries which recently reiterated their support for autonomy under Moroccan sovereignty within the framework of a ministerial conference at the initiative of Morocco and the United States. In addition, the American decision to join the twenty or so countries that have opened consulates in Laayoune and Dakhla will undoubtedly motivate other nations to follow in its footsteps very soon, he said.
He added that when Morocco signed, on December 22, the trilateral declaration which contains the American presidential declaration, the country sealed at the same time a commitment for a package, promoting stability in the Maghreb and serving peace in the Middle East at the same time.
"This is an opportunity for us today to take a constructive and active positioning towards the only realistic, fair and sustainable horizon," he concluded.