In a press release, following his meeting with Morocco's Consul General in Sicily, Youssef Bella, Mr. Musotto described Morocco's initiative as the "sole possible solution to lift the current blockade and secure stability in the Maghreb region (a regional grouping mustering Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya and Mauritania)."
Morocco presented, in April, to the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, a draft plan to grant substantial autonomy to its southern provinces –the Sahara- in a bid to solve the three-decade-old dispute with the Polisario separatists over this former Spanish colony that was ceded by Spain to Morocco in 1975 under the Madrid Accord.
"On the eve of the enforcement of the Euro-Mediterranean Free Trade Zone, the Maghreb region cannot enter this space, meant to be a zone of freedom and peace, as long as it is lugging around a thirty year-long dispute that is a legacy of the cold war," reads the press release.
Mr. Musotto also hoped that the Moroccan proposal be regarded "positively", noting that it is "an open and a balanced proposal that offers an opportunity to reach a final political solution to this conflict."
Echoing him, Salvatore Cuffaro, president of the autonomous government of Sicily, expressed, in a press release, his region’s backing of the Moroccan proposal.
"Sicily will back Morocco’s efforts to negotiate an Autonomy Statute in the Sahara”, he said, noting that his region “offers to put into Morocco’s disposal the sixty year old experience it had accumulated in terms of autonomy, with a view to guarantee a standard of stability, progress and peace for the people of the Sahara."
In a statement following the Sicily Cabinet meeting on Morocco's proposal, Mr. Cuffaro also said he is "convinced that any initiative intended to create stability and progress in the area, can also have beneficial effects for the Northern Mediterranean bank."