Urges More Clarity on the US Position, Firmly Rejects Additional Concessions
Washington, DC (November 10, 2014) — In a speech delivered on Thursday marking the 39th anniversary of the Green March, King Mohammed VI singled out and thanked the White House for its efforts to resolve the Western Sahara conflict, while calling on the United States and others to clearly state their policy on this issue of existential importance for Morocco.
“I wish to express my appreciation to the… major international powers – especially the United States of America and the White House in particular – for making a positive contribution at various stages to finding a solution to this issue,” said the King, adding that, “While valuing their support for Morocco’s efforts and for the negotiating process on the basis of the autonomy initiative, I am calling, today, for a clear position concerning this conflict. At a time when they reaffirm that Morocco is a model for democratic development, an influential state in ensuring security and stability in the region and a partner in the fight against terrorism, there is some ambiguity in the way they deal with the question of its territorial integrity.”
The speech comes less than a year after King Mohammed VI met with President Obama at the White House, at which, through a joint statement issued following that meeting, the United States reaffirmed that US policy toward the Western Sahara for a solution based on autonomy under Moroccan sovereignty “has remained consistent for many years” and that “Morocco’s autonomy plan is serious, realistic, and credible.”
The King reiterated that Morocco has been committed to the UN negotiations, but emphasized that “Morocco’s sovereignty over its entire territory is effective, inalienable and non-negotiable.” He added, “The autonomy initiative is the maximum Morocco can offer in terms of negotiation to achieve a final solution to this regional conflict;” and “Morocco will remain in its Sahara, and the Sahara will remain part of Morocco, until the end of time.”
In addition to calling on the United States to deepen its commitment to finding a political solution to the problem, King Mohamed VI, in what he said were carefully measured words, made clear that he believed there could be “no solution” to the problem in the Sahara unless Algeria, a “main party to this conflict” was also “held accountable.”
Addressing Morocco’s financial and social commitment to Western Sahara, King Mohammed VI called for an end to the “mystification of a so-called exploitation by Morocco of the region’s riches,” adding that “the Sahara does not produce enough to satisfy the basic needs of its population and that Moroccans have borne the cost for developing the southern provinces.” He cited that “for every single dirham of revenue from the Sahara, the state invests 7 dirhams there.”
The King also confirmed the “implementation of advanced regionalization and of the development model for the southern provinces” in the coming year, calling for a national dialogue on the subject to ensure that all Moroccan voices are heard. Emphasizing that regionalization will celebrate Morocco’s diversity, he added, “Moroccans are the product of authentic cultural interplay between all the components of the Moroccan identity. As far as I am concerned, they are all equal; there is no difference between a Jebli and a Riffi – between a Sahrawi and a Soussi….”
Contact: Jordana Merran, 301.873.4484
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