Western Sahara: Autonomy is “Best Acceptable Compromise” MEPs Say

alhMembers of the European Parliament have stressed the importance of the proposal to grant the Sahara a large autonomy under Moroccan sovereignty, affirming that this initiative is the “best acceptable compromise” for settling the territorial dispute between Morocco and the Polisario Front.

The MEPs, who have just wound up a tour in the southern provinces of the Kingdom, sent a letter to the High EU Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Federica Mogherini, in which they explain that the Moroccan proposal will allow the Sahrawis to be “democratically elected to manage their local government.”

In the letter, MEPs Dominique Riquet, Gilles Pargneaux and Yunus Omarjee have called on the EU to use its “diplomatic and economic weight to make a strong initiative in this matter,” arguing that Europe is a “key partner” for Morocco and for the Maghreb, in both security and development fields.

“We believe that European diplomacy should play a leading role in contributing to peace and stability” in the region, they said.

The MEPs also drew the attention of the head of European diplomacy on the security situation in this region and its implications for Europe.

They warned that the Maghreb region is facing security challenges marked by the presence of armed terrorist groups in the Sahel strip and in Libya, where authorities have lost control over arms and human trafficking. They also mentioned among these challenges the unstable and uncertain situation in Algeria.

As to their recent visit to the Moroccan southern provinces, the MEPs said they have found out firsthand an “impressive” economic and social development in the cities of the Sahara, particularly Laayoune, Smara, Dakhla and Boujdour.

The MEPs, who also mentioned in their letter the situation of human rights, hailed the “important work” being done by the Laayoune-based Regional Centre for Human Rights, which has helped promote and strengthen human rights culture and expand the freedom of expression and movement, they stated.

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