UN-Sahara: Bourita reveals contents of Lisbon discussions with Horst Köhler

Moroccan Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita revealed Tuesday in Lisbon some details of the bilateral talks with the UN Secretary-General’s personal envoy for the Sahara, Horst Köhler.

These discussions took place overall “in an atmosphere of serenity and the discussions were rich and fruitful”, Nasser Bourita told the media, adding that “the atmosphere was marked by seriousness and mutual respect”.

The head of Moroccan diplomacy made it clear that “it is neither a negotiation process nor a negotiation, but a contact to discuss the development of the Moroccan Sahara issue”.

Nasser Bourita was accompanied by Morocco’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Omar Hilale, as well as the presidents of the regions of Laayoune-Sakia El Hamra and Dakhla-Oued Eddahab, respectively Sidi Hamdi Ould Errachid and Ynja Khattat.

The Moroccan delegation seized the opportunity to recall the genesis of this regional dispute and the political, legal and geostrategic considerations that triggered it in the 1970s, the Foreign Minister said.

The delegation members also presented to Horst Köhler, who was accompanied by his senior advisor David Schawke and his spokesman, Obina Okinba, details of the Moroccan autonomy plan, the context of its elaboration, its rich content and its very solid legal basis.

Bourita recalled that the Moroccan delegation to the Lisbon meeting was guided by the terms of reference outlined by King Mohammed VI in the speech he delivered on November 6, 2017 on the celebration of the 42nd anniversary of the Green March. The monarch had then defined the four parameters necessary for the continuation of this process.

Firstly, the settlement of this artificial issue must be within the framework of Morocco’s sovereignty, territorial integrity and national unity.

Secondly, the process should include all the stakeholders in this dispute, i.e. the actual parties who have been at the origin of this regional dispute.

Thirdly, the process must be held under the exclusive aegis of the United Nations without the intervention of any other regional or international organization.

Fourth, the process must focus on political issues, away from all the marginal issues that are often embedded in the discussions to derail the process from its primary objectives, added the Foreign Minister.

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