Several Delegates and petitioners took the floor before the fourth UN Committee, hailing the round table discussions on Sahara planned in Geneva in December and the autonomy plan offered by Morocco for the resolution of this regional conflict.
Cameroon’s delegate expressed support for the ongoing efforts made by Horst Köhler, Personal Envoy of the UN Secretary-General, noting that his appointment has given new impetus to the efforts engaged to find a political resolution to the Sahara issue.
Gabon’s representative Michel Xavier Biang voiced support for the ongoing political process conducted under the Secretary-General’s auspices, noting that the Personal Envoy’s visit to cities in the Sahara region last June, and the upcoming round table in Geneva, demonstrate Morocco’s willingness to participate in a diplomatic process. He also hailed Morocco’s autonomy plan for the Sahara, which will allow, he said, a mutually acceptable negotiated political solution.
Senegal’s delegate Cheikh Niang, who welcomed the planned Geneva meeting, called upon UN members to take a new look at Morocco’s autonomy initiative for the Sahara, saying it was drawn on the basis of “dynamic compromise”. He urged neighboring countries to make significant contributions to the process and recalled that Security Council resolutions established the correlation between a negotiated solution to the dispute over the Sahara and the reinvigoration of cooperation among countries of the Arab Maghreb region.
Saudi Arabia’s permanent representative to the UN, Abdallah Al Mouallimi, said Morocco continues to participate, seriously and in good faith, in the search of a permanent solution to the Sahara issue. He reaffirmed that Saudi Arabia has welcomed Morocco’s autonomy proposal as a constructive, equitable and realistic solution, in accordance with international law and UN resolutions.
Echoing the Saudi diplomat, the delegates of the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Qatar and Yemen have reiterated a similar position and expressed support to the Moroccan autonomy initiative. They likewise welcomed the efforts made by Morocco to achieve a definitive solution, underlining that the Security Council has, in all its resolutions since 2007 and until 2018, qualified these efforts as serious and credible, paving the way towards a final settlement.
The representative of Burkina Faso Eric Tiare, who described the decolonization questions as “very political”, said that his country supports the process facilitated by the Secretary-General’s Personal Envoy for the Sahara and calls upon all States in the region to contribute to the negotiation process.
Tiare welcomed Morocco’s prompt response to the Personal Envoy’s invitation to the upcoming round table in Geneva, affirming that his country backs the kingdom’s autonomy plan for the Sahara and its socioeconomic and human rights accomplishments in the region. Commending the Personal Envoy for facilitating the round table, he expressed hope for a positive response and participation by all parties invited.
Horst Köhler has invited Morocco, Algeria, Mauritania and the Polisario to a round table, to be held in Geneva December 5 and 6 and Morocco was the first to accept the invitation.
Andrew Rosemarine from the International Law Chambers, described the autonomy proposal for the Sahara as “flexible, fair and far-sighted,” saying that it offers a large degree of self-determination for the Sahrawis, and aims to build a modern, democratic society based on the rule of law.
Nguyen Manh Hung, Ho Chi Minh National Academy of Politics, expressed confidence in Morocco’s autonomy plan. The kingdom has put tremendous resources into the region, he said, recalling the Security Council’s resolution 2414 (2018) which says that the current status quo is not acceptable and emphasizes the need for neighboring States to contribute to a political solution based on compromise.