UN C-24: Gabon Reiterates Support for Morocco’s Autonomy Plan for Moroccan Sahara

Gabon reaffirmed, before the members of the United Nations (UN) Committee of 24 (C-24), its support for the Moroccan Autonomy Plan, a plan that offers “credible and reassuring” prospects for the permanent resolution of the regional dispute over the Moroccan Sahara.

Gabon’s representative at the C-24 Pacific regional seminar, held in Bali (May 24-26), affirmed that his country “welcomes and encourages the Moroccan Autonomy Plan, as it advocates for an acceptable, negotiated political solution.”

In this context, the Gabonese diplomat underlined that over a hundred countries have expressed their support for the Kingdom’s proposal, noting that the Moroccan Plan enjoys strong international support, particularly from the Security Council (SC) which always affirmed the credibility of this initiative in its resolutions. 

The Gabonese representative also praised the efforts of the United Nations (UN) Secretary-General’s Personal Envoy for the Sahara, Staffan de Mistura, who is “working tirelessly to relaunch the political process under the auspices of the United Nations (UN).

“De Mistura’s commitment to the success of his mission is reflected in the visits he has made, over the course of 2022, to Morocco, Algeria, Mauritania and Tindouf camps, as well as in the informal bilateral consultations he conducted in March,” said the Gabonese representative. 

The Gabonese representative also noted that the diplomatic resurgence of the subject is an “encouraging sign” that calls for the resumption of the round-table process around the four participants, namely Morocco, Algeria, Mauritania, and the “polisario,” urging all parties to engage in this process, to reach a political solution to the regional dispute over the Moroccan Sahara, as recommended by Security Council (SC) resolutions.

The Gabonese diplomat also highlighted the positive evolution in the Sahara, noting that at the political level, representatives from the Moroccan Sahara currently partake in several regional seminars of the C-24, including the one held in Bali, Indonesia. She stressed that “this is a significant fact that should be noted.”

At the socioeconomic level, Gabon’s representative highlighted Morocco’s ongoing efforts aimed at improving the living conditions of people in the Southern provinces, underlining that the New Development Model for the Southern Provinces, launched in 2015, has positively impacted the human development index in the region.

The Gabonese diplomat explained that “this socio-economic progress strengthens international cooperation in the region,” while nearly thirty countries worldwide have opened consulates general in Laâyoune and Dakhla, further expressing her “delight” that her country, Gabon, also opened a consulate in Dakhla on August 17, 2022.

Speaking about human rights, the Gabonese representative commended Morocco’s “significant” achievements in this field, citing, in particular, the strengthening of the role of the National Human Rights Council’s (NHRC) regional commissions in Laayoune and Dakhla, and bilateral cooperation with the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), the treaty bodies, and the special procedures of the Human Rights Council.

“These efforts were praised in several Security Council (SC) resolutions, including resolution 2654,” added the Gabonese diplomat.

Gabon’s representative also encouraged Morocco to continue respecting the ceasefire and cooperating with the United Nations Mission for the Referendum in the Sahara (MINURSO), calling on all other parties to follow suit in the interests of security and stability in the region.

The Gabonese representative also expressed her country’s “concern” about the situation of the Tindouf camps populations, particularly women and children, underlining that respect for their fundamental rights is a requirement that must not be forgotten.

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