"Italy appreciates the existence of a Moroccan initiative, as we are very concerned about the fact that no solution has so far been found within the framework of the United Nations," said D'Alema in a press briefing at the end of a meeting with Moroccan foreign minister Mohammed Benaissa.
D'Alema said his country will take a stance once the Moroccan proposal is submitted to the UN Security Council, noting that Italy encourages direct dialog between the parties concerned.
For his part, Benaissa said the meeting was an opportunity to present the broad lines of the project Morocco is devising to grant substantial autonomy to the southern provinces, the Sahara, within its national sovereignty and territorial integrity.
The Sahara conflict arose in the mid-seventies by the claim of the Algeria-backed separatist movement, known as the "Polisario," to separate the Moroccan southern provinces (Sahara) from Morocco after these provinces were retrieved from Spanish rule under the Madrid accords signed in 1975.
In the same vein, Moroccan Speaker of the House of Representatives, Abdelwahed Radi, briefed a visiting delegation of Euro-deputies about this regional conflict and Morocco’s proposal to solve the thirty-year-long conflict.
The delegation, from Belgium, Hungary, Germany and Romania, had also met the chairman of the Advisory Council for Saharan Affairs (CORCAS), Khalihenna Ould Errachid, who informed them about the Moroccan autonomy proposal.