The UN Security Council has never referred to the Sahara issue as a decolonization question but rather a regional dispute examined under Chapter VI relating to the peaceful settlement of disputes, Morocco’s Ambassador and permanent representative to the UN Omar Hilale said.
The Sahara issue is at the heart of Morocco’s completion of its territorial integrity, he said at the UN C24 session, rejecting the claims propagated by separatist proponents often portraying the dispute as a decolonization issue.
During the event, Hilale gave an overview of Morocco’s retrieval of the southern provinces and the genesis of the regional dispute over the Sahara.
He reiterated Morocco’s position that only a solution within its territorial integrity and sovereignty could put an end to the conflict that has long lasted.
A solution therefore should involve the real parties to the conflict, he said in an allusion to Algeria, which arms and hosts the separatists.
Hilale also made it clear that a process is led by the UN to settle the issue in line with UN Security Council resolutions, adding that no other regional or international organization should substitute the UN process.
He stressed that the process should be focused on a political solution, and that attempts at including marginal issues may derail the process.
The diplomat recalled in this respect Security Council resolution 2414 which calls for a “political, realistic, feasible and lasting solution” to the Sahara dispute based on the spirit of compromise.
The event was also a chance to shed light on Morocco’s development model in the southern provinces to which $8 billion have been earmarked.
Hilale raised the need of conducting a head-count of the population held against their will in the Polisario-run camps in Algeria in line with the 1953 convention on refugees.
Morocco has offered since 2007 the autonomy initiative for its southern provinces as a basis for negotiations. The Security Council and several world powers have recognized the autonomy plan as a serious and credible proposal to settle the dispute.