Rabat – King Mohammed VI spoke of “conspiracies” trying to create an “artificial” territorial dispute in the Western Sahara during his speech at the joint Gulf Cooperation Council summit on Wednesday.
Morocco expelled a U.N.-run peacekeeping mission in the Western Sahara called MINUSRO from their offices in Laayoune and Dakhla last month after Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (UNSG) referred to the country’s presence in the region as an “occupation.”
According to the monarch, his country’s most recent row is not with the United Nations or its Security Council. “Morocco has a problem with the Secretary-General, and more particularly with some of his aides, because of their hostile positions towards my country,” he said.
He also commented that the U.N. leader, after all, is “only human” and cannot be well informed about all of the issues on the international organization’s agenda.
Ban Ki-moon is being used to perpetuate “thinly-veiled” maneuvers – including forms of “blackmail” – which the king said undermined his country’s territorial integrity in a time when the Security Council is preparing to vote on the future of MINURSO’s mandate once the mission’s annual report is published later this month.
The king called on GCC states to support the 2007 autonomy proposal, which would allow Sahrawis to practice self-governance under Morocco’s sovereignty. The Moroccan king recalled that leaders from Oman, Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates had participated in the Green March in 1975, which led over 350,000 Moroccans to march to the Western Sahara to put an end to Spanish colonial presence.
Saudi King Salman restated the Gulf’s support for Morocco in its struggle against the separatist Polisario Front shortly after the Moroccan monarch’s speech.
While the council’s support for Morocco has been consistent through its 16-year war with the Polisario Front, as well as other developments in the issue, this is the first time the six Gulf countries express their clear support for the Moroccanness of the Sahara.