Mohammed VI: Algeria responsible for protraction of Western Sahara Conflict

discours-marche-verteThe autonomy plan is “the maximum that Morocco can offer in the framework of the UN-sponsored negotiations” to reach a solution to the Western Sahara conflict, said King Mohammed V who held Algeria responsible for the protraction of this regional conflict.

“Unless Algeria – the main party in this conflict – is held accountable, there will be no solution” to this artificially kindled conflict, said Morocco’s king on Thursday on the occasion of the anniversary of the Green March which allowed Morocco to recover the Western Sahara in 1975, after nearly a century of Spanish occupation.

For Morocco, the “Sahara is a crucial, existential issue, not just a question about borders.” “The Sahara is not an issue for Saharan people only. The Sahara is the cause of all Moroccans,” insisted Mohammed VI.

It is this collective dedication and solidarity that made the development of Western Sahara possible, because “what is produced in the Sahara is not even enough to meet the basic needs of its population.”

Dismissing the accusations alleging that Morocco was exploiting the wealth of the region, the sovereign said that since Morocco recovered the Sahara, “for every single dirham of revenue from the Sahara, the state invests 7 dirhams there, as part of the solidarity between the regions and between the sons and daughters of the nation.”

And to consolidate these gains, Morocco will implement, as of next year, the advanced regionalization project and the new development model in the region. This new approach will break away with the previous mode of governance. It will allow the population to participate in the management of local affairs and ensure that the region’s population benefits from the local wealth, in an environment where equal opportunity and social justice prevail, he said.

Alluding to the attempts to change the MINURSO mandate, the Moroccan king firmly rejected any such attempts. “No to any attempt to reconsider the principles and criteria of the negotiation process, or any attempt to revise and expand the MINURSO mandate to include such matters as the supervision of the human rights situation.” Any change will kill the negotiations process.

The king’s clarifications are made while the UN mediator’s mission has reached an impasse and Christopher Ross has not visited the region for months.

Mohammed VI also called the great powers, including the United States, which have welcomed the autonomy initiative and which hail Morocco’s role in regional stability, to adopt a clear cut position on the conflict.

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