In Speech to United Nations, Morocco Prioritizes Africa, Calls for Realistic Resolution of the Sahara
Washington, DC, September 21, 2017 (MACP) – Speaking at the 72nd General Assembly of the United Nations, Morocco’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Nasser Bourita hailed Morocco’s return to the African Union as a crowning achievement of King Mohammed VI’s vision and underscored Morocco’s commitment to Africa’s future.
“Morocco will continue to shoulder its responsibilities within the African Union, as a founding member of the Organization of African Unity, and as a committed, dynamic and active partner who has always defended its causes and concerns in international and regional organizations,” said Minister Bourita.
Minister Bourita emphasized the importance of viewing Africa as a partner and not a burden, echoing the words of King Mohammed VI that “Morocco does not view Africa as a market for the sale and promotion of Moroccan products, or as a continent for making quick profit. We see Africa as a forum for joint action, for promoting development in the region, and for serving African citizens.”
He confirmed South-South cooperation as a major pillar of Morocco’s foreign policy vision, which includes partnerships on development, economic integration, wealth creation, and employment as part of a dynamic to ensure food security and strengthen human development. Morocco continues to engage in discussions on reform within the African Union to find solutions to these challenges in the spirit of realism and compromise.
Such cooperation will be imperative to consensus on a political settlement to the Sahara issue based on a formula of autonomy under Moroccan sovereignty, said the Minister.
Under the Clinton, Bush, and Obama administrations, and with broad bipartisan support in the US Congress, US policy has continued to support resolving the conflict based on such a formula. Both Congress and the Bush and Obama administrations have also repeatedly called Morocco’s Autonomy Initiative “serious, realistic, and credible.” The most recent UN Secretary General report and Security Council resolution also called for its examination as a framework for discussion.
Reiterating Morocco’s willingness to work with the United Nations to that effect, Minister Bourita called on the “other parties to this regional conflict to assume their responsibilities” and “seriously and constructively become engaged in the political process under the aegis of the United Nations.”
He recalled ongoing efforts to revitalize the economic and social development of Morocco’s southern provinces. The program to implement regionalization, to enable inhabitants of the Sahara to manage their own affairs in a democratic and stable framework, is also underway.
These efforts contrast sharply with the situation faced by the refugees sequestrated by the Polisario in the Tindouf camps. Minister Bourita called on the international community to pressure Algeria, the host country to meet its international commitments and to allow UNHCR to register the camp populations in accordance with Security Council resolutions.
“The Foreign Minister’s remarks at UNGA remind us that for more than 10 years the UN has called on Morocco and the Polisario Front to reach a negotiated settlement. Morocco responded to that call with its 2007 compromise solution recognized by the international community as serious, credible, and realistic,” said former US Ambassador Edward M. Gabriel. “It’s time to move on that compromise.”
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