Omar Hilale: Moroccan Autonomy Plan, One, Only Solution to Sahara Conflict

Morocco’s Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the United Nations (UN), Omar Hilale, stressed, on September 26 in New York, that the Moroccan Autonomy Plan, within the framework of the Kingdom’s territorial integrity and national sovereignty, is the “one and only” solution to the artificial regional conflict over the Moroccan Sahara. 

In a statement on behalf of Morocco to the general debate of the 78th session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), Hilale recalled that the Moroccan Plan enjoys the support of over 100 countries around the world, adding that almost 30 States and regional organizations have inaugurated consulates general in the cities of Laayoune and Dakhla, reaffirming their full support for the Moroccanity of the Sahara.

The Moroccan diplomat noted that the Kingdom is committed to a definitive political solution to the artificial regional dispute over the Moroccan Sahara, which would strengthen development, stability, and peace in the region and in Africa. 

Hilale emphasized the Kingdom’s constant support of the efforts of the United Nations Secretary-General and his Personal Envoy for the Sahara, Staffan de Mistura, to relaunch the roundtable process in the same format and with the same participants, particularly Algeria, the main party to the conflict, in accordance with Security Council resolution 2654, reiterating that the definitive solution to this regional dispute can only be political, realistic, pragmatic, and based on compromise.

Referring to the socio-economic dynamics underway in the southern provinces of the Kingdom, the Moroccan ambassador pointed out that, as part of the New Development Model for which Morocco has mobilized a budget that now exceeds $ 10 billion, the completion rate of which is close to 81%, several social and economic projects have been launched, enabling the region to establish itself as a hub for trade between Africa and the world.

Hilale noted that the UNSG’s Personal Envoy for the Sahara, Staffan de Mistura, had explored these achievements first hand during his visit in early September to Laayoune and Dakhla in the Moroccan Sahara.

“This large-scale effort is part of the implementation of the High Directives of His Majesty King Mohammed VI, may Allah assist Him, outlined in the Sovereign’s speech on the occasion of the 47th anniversary of the Green March, dated November 6, 2022,” recalled Hilale.

The Moroccan diplomat also added, in this regard, that His Majesty the King had stressed in that speech that “our action to defend the Moroccanity of the Sahara is based on a holistic approach that combines not only political and diplomatic action but also efforts to promote economic, social and human development in the region.”

The Kingdom’s Permanent Representative to the UN also reiterated Morocco’s deep concern about the catastrophic humanitarian situation in the Tindouf camps, where the host country, Algeria, has illegally ceded power to an armed separatist militia with proven links to terrorist and criminal networks.

In this regard, Hilale underlined that this situation calls for the international community’s attention to Algeria’s refusal to allow the census of the populations sequestered in the camps, in flagrant violation of international law and the Security Council’s (SC) appeals since 2011, denouncing the misappropriation of humanitarian aid intended for the people sequestered in the Tindouf camps, as evidenced by the reports of international, regional, and non-governmental organizations, the most recent of which is that of the World Food Programme (WFP), published in January 2023.

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