During a press luncheon during his institutional visit to Casablanca, and accompanied by the Catalan vice-president - who joined the Catalan delegation today - and the advisor on "Innovation, Universities and Enterprise," Josep Huguet (ERC), Montilla said today that "at the end it is the people who decide."
Montilla said that the Moroccan official in charge of the Moroccan Sahara conflict had requested hearing to explain in detail the Moroccan plan for the Western Sahara.
The plan proposes a firm and definitive status of autonomy for this region with which Carod does not agree, since he has been advocating for years, the independence of Western Sahara, a cause he has supported widely and publicly as leader of ERC.
Montilla said he was proud that Morocco takes Catalonia as an example for Sahara
The Catalan president, José Montilla, described was "proud" that the Moroccan government was interested in the Catalonian autonomy, in north-eastern Spain, as a model for Western Sahara.
Montilla met this afternoon with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Morocco, Taieb Fassi Fihri, and with the chairman of the Royal Advisory Council for Saharan Affairs, Khalihenna Ould Errachid, accompanied by Spanish Ambassador Luis Planas, Catalan vice president, Josep Lluis Carod-Rovira, and the Secretary for Foreign Affairs of the Generalitat, Roser Clavell.
Before these meetings, Montilla termed a "starting point", the Moroccan proposal of autonomy for the Sahara and told journalists that in any case, "at the end it’s the people who decide".
After the meeting with the Minister of Foreign affairs, Montilla said that "the solution to the region’s conflicts will always be positive for all countries".
"I think that all the initiatives that can allow move towards conflict resolution are to be examined," said Montilla,
For his part, the Moroccan Minister of Foreign Affairs has expressed the desire of his government to strengthen "social, cultural and economic ties with Catalonia", and thanked him for the "efforts of Catalonia" to bring closer the EU and the Maghreb positions.
Montilla has shown an attitude of openness to the Moroccan proposals on the Western Sahara conflict.
El Periodico de Catalunya
The "president" is "proud" that Rabat takes Catalonia as a model
Montilla has denied being used by Morocco in search of the very symbolic support by the Catalan Government to the Sahara. "As president of the Generalitat-he said - I feel proud that the Moroccan authorities take Catalonia as a model".
The chairman of the Royal Advisory Council for Saharan Affairs gave a detailed plan of the Moroccan initiative before Montilla and Carod. The proposal, inspired by the Spanish autonomous system provides: decentralization measures and power transfer, something unprecedented in Morocco. But it prohibits negotiations on the Moroccan sovereignty.
Morocco hopes to find in the Catalonian autonomy a solution to the Sahara conflict
Morocco tries to find in Spain, the solution to the conflict that has lasted for 30 years in Western Sahara. King Mohammed VI hopes that Polisario will accept a degree of autonomy similar to the Catalonia model or the Basque Country as a third way, which excludes something that cannot be discussed: the Moroccan sovereignty over the territory. The Alaouite kingdom takes advantage from the visit of President of the Generalitat, José Montilla, to consider the Catalan model.
Indeed, Montilla will meet today with the principal adviser to the King on Saharan affairs, the Corcas chairman, Khalihenna Ould Errachid. The meeting, which was not included in the official program of the visit of the Catalan president, will be held at the request of Morocco.
Montilla has already shown support to the autonomy that Mohammed VI has offered for the Western Sahara in an interview with the Moroccan newspaper "Le Matin". In line with the Spanish government's support for the project, expressed by Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, the Executive Chief has assessed the Catalan statute of autonomy as a "good starting point" for resolving the conflict.
Montilla praised the Moroccan "process of opening". In addition, he said that the proposal made by the sovereign to establish an autonomy status within the framework of international legality - protected by the United Nations - is a "substantial step forward", "as a starting point", which is a step beyond the official Spanish position which considers it as a step that must be taken into consideration.
The chairman of the Royal Advisory Council for Saharan Affairs, Khalihenna Ould Errachid, will meet with Montilla this afternoon.