In Phone Call to King Mohammed VI, UN Secretary General Promises Neutrality on Western Sahara, Lauds Moroccan Cooperation in Counterterrorism and Development
Washington, DC, January 23, 2014 (MACP) — In a phone call to King Mohammed VI on Thursday, United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon assured the King of the neutrality, objectivity, and impartiality of UN officials in charge of the Western Sahara peacekeeping mission (MINURSO). The call comes just two months after King Mohammed VI reiterated in a speech to the nation that Morocco has been committed to the UN negotiations, but that “Morocco’s sovereignty over its entire territory is effective, inalienable and non-negotiable,” and that “the autonomy initiative is the maximum Morocco can offer in terms of negotiation to achieve a final solution to this regional conflict.” US policy toward the Western Sahara calls for a solution based on autonomy under Moroccan sovereignty, and US officials have repeatedly called Morocco’s autonomy plan ”serious, realistic, and credible.”
Also during the call, Secretary Ban Ki-Moon expressed gratitude for Morocco’s support of the UN agenda in the areas of peacekeeping, the fight against extremism, and human development, as well as the Kingdom’s commitment to achieving the UN’s post-2015 Millennium Development Goals.
As of December 2014, Morocco has more than 2,300 troops, military observers, and police serving in United Nations Peacekeeping Operations in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Central African Republic, and Cote d’Ivoire, and a Moroccan diplomat, Jamal Benomar, is currently serving as the UN envoy to Yemen. In September 2014, along the sidelines of the UN General Assembly meeting, Moroccan security officials briefed the UN Security Council’s Counter-Terrorism Committee on Morocco’s national strategy to prevent extremism; and the country has also spearheaded a number of new counterterrorism initiatives as co-chair of the Foreign Terrorist Fighters working group of the Global Counterterrorism Forum, a close partner of the UN. On development, Morocco became one of just three countries to meet, ahead of schedule, its 2015 Millennium Development Goal target on eliminating hunger.
Contact: Jordana Merran, 202.470.2049
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