Rabat - South Sudan voiced support for Morocco’s autonomy plan for Western Sahara on Friday.
Rabat – South Sudan voiced support for Morocco’s autonomy plan for Western Sahara on Friday.
Speaking at a joint conference in Rabat with his Moroccan counterpart Nasser Bourita, Nhial Deng Nhial, South Sudan’s foreign affairs minister, reiterated his country’s “total support” for Morocco’s territorial integrity.
The South Sudanese official praised Morocco’s autonomy plan for Western Sahara, saying that his country appreciates Morocco’s efforts in the disputed region.
The way forward in the African continent’s longest territorial dispute is to resort to a political settlement, he said. He added that his country subscribes to the UN-led initiative for a mutually acceptable and lasting political settlement.
More importantly perhaps, Nhial strongly denied reports that linked the South Sudanese regime to the Polisario Front, the separatist movement claiming independence in Western Africa.
He said that South Sudan “has never had, and does not have” diplomatic ties with the Arab Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR), the self-styled republic claiming legitimacy over Western Sahara.
Morocco has “made considerable investments” in the southern provinces, according to the UN Secretary-General’s latest report on Western Sahara.
The investments mostly took the form of infrastructure and economic development projects to improve living standards. Morocco’s 2007 autonomy proposal calls for local autonomy under Moroccan sovereignty.
South Sudan’s support is one of the many that Morocco’s “successful” diplomatic moves have yielded in recent years.
Earlier this year, the African Union made the unprecedented move to refrain from pushing for a “parallel agenda” in the continent’s oldest dispute. The “AU’s role will be that of supporting and accompanying UN efforts,” the organization said.
A wave of African countries, among them, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, and Gabon, have since made known their support for Morocco’s position. They have called Morocco’s autonomy plan “practical,” “serious,” “ideal,” and “respectful of international standards.”