The opening of consulates by several African and Arab countries in the Moroccan Sahara will reinforce peace and development in the region, Bangladeshi newspaper Dhaka Tribune points out.
"This process of recognition marked a turning point in the history of this long running issue and set new thresholds for the region as a whole for peace and development," says Shamsher M Chowdhury, former Foreign Secretary of Bangladesh, in an Op-Ed published on Monday by + Dhaka Tribune +.
In December 2020, US President Donald Trump, in one of his last diplomatic moves, formally recognized Moroccan sovereignty over the entire Saharan region and reaffirmed its support for Morocco’s autonomy proposal as the basis for a just and lasting solution to the issue over the Saharan territory, the former diplomat added.
Morocco, under the leadership of HM King Mohammad VI, "has emerged as a responsible player and a growing economy in the African continent, culminating with its return to the African Union in 2017, thus giving Rabat a more visible role in the region," Chowdhury underlined.
Meanwhile, the Polisario’s shrinking members have remained confined to virtually uninhabitable and inhospitable areas in the desert, and since the end of the 1980s, several disillusioned members of the Polisario decided to discontinue their military or political activities for the Polisario Front and most of them returned from their camps in Algeria to Morocco, the source added.
"With more and more countries recognizing Moroccan sovereignty over the Saharan region and supporting the kingdom’s autonomy plan, it is perhaps time for others to see the reality on the ground in a fast changing post-Cold War world and accordingly move with the times," Chowdhury pointed out.
The problem of the Sahara issue has been caused by the unfortunate legacy of the French and Spanish colonial past in this strategically located part of the African continent, which ignored "the historical fact that the Saharan region has always been seen as an integral part of Morocco", the former Foreign Secretary of Bangladesh pointed out.