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Tuesday, June 28, 2022
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German Forein Minister FranK Walter Steinmeier whose country holds the rotating chairmanship of the European Union, on Monday welcomed Morocco's draft plan to grant substantial autonomy to its Southern Provinces - the Sahara- and said the EU would follow with much interest this initiative.



The German official praised the initiative to "inform the European Union of Morocco's reflections on this subject", and said "the EU will examine with much interest this plan and will discuss it", a communiqué of the EU chairmanship said Monday night.

   Steinmeier made the statement after a meeting with a visiting delegation of senior Moroccan officials who came to Berlin to brief German officials on the draft autonomy plan Morocco is devising to solve the three-decade old dispute with the Algerian-backed separatist movement "Polisario".

   The delegation is led by Minister of the Interior Chakib Benmoussa and comprises deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Taieb Fassi-Fihri, deputy Minister of the Interior Fouad Ali El Himma, and the head of the Moroccan intelligence Yassine Mansouri.

    The delegation had earlier visited Paris, Madrid, Washington and London.
   During the meeting, the German minister said that “Europe backs the political, economic and social reforms undertaken by Morocco under the leadership of King Mohammed VI”.

   The delegation also met with Christoph Heusen, diplomatic adviser of Chancellor Angela Merkel, and with the chairmen of the Bundestag (parliament) Foreign Affairs Committee and Middle East-North Africa Committee, respectively Ruprecht Polenz and Hussein Aydin.

   The autonomy plan is due to be presented next April to the United Nations security Council. Morocco is seeking support of the Council members to this plan which, if endorsed, would end the conflict  in the North African region where the separatist movement, backed by Morocco’s eastern neighbor Algeria, claims independence of the former Spanish colony retrieved by the kingdom in 1975 under the Madrid Accords.

  In Paris, President Jacques Chirac described the plan as “constructive” while in Madrid, Washington and London, officials welcomed it.

 

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