Despite rumors of friction between Morocco and its Gulf allies, Saudi Arabia and the UAE continue to reiterate their support for Morocco’s Autonomy Plan as a viable solution for the Western Sahara conflict.
Rabat – A list of 23 states have expressed support for Morocco’s territorial integrity and the Autonomy Plan submitted by the North African country to the UN in 2007 as a possible political solution to end the Western Sahara conflict.
Permanent Ambassador and representative of Morocco to the UN in Geneva Omar Zinber said on Tuesday, September 10, that a group of 23 countries believe that the autonomy initiative “has been recognized by the Security Council as a serious and credible basis for definitely resolving the regional conflict.”
The countries expressed their support for Morocco’s cause at the 42nd session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva.
The countries believe that solving the conflict “will contribute to the realization of the legitimate aspirations of the African and Arab peoples in terms of integration and development, an objective to which Morocco is strongly committed.”
Zniber, according to Maghreb Arab Press (MAP), said that the countries signed a declaration, in which they emphasize that Morocco has engaged in a constructive, and profound interaction with the UN human rights system, including the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).
The group of countries also indicated that 12 special missions visited the Moroccan provinces of Laayoune and Dakha in Western Sahara. The missions had free and unrestricted access to all places in the region.
“It is also in this context that Morocco has hosted a technical mission of the OHCHR, at the invitation of the Government of the Kingdom of Morocco, aimed at strengthening the capacity of action of international institutions,” said the Group.
Saudi Arabia and the UAE were among the countries to express their support for Morocco’s autonomy initiatives, despite rumors of tension between Morocco and the two Gulf countries. The reports of friction between Morocco and its Gulf allies escalated after Saudi Television outlet Al-Arabiya aired a documentary that challenged Morocco’s sovereignty over Western Sahara.
Morocco’s government denied any conflict with its allies, emphasizing that it has strong and historical ties with both countries.
Morocco’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Nasser Bourita said in March that from “the point of view of Morocco, relations with Gulf countries,” especially Saudi Arabia and the UAE, “have always been deep historical relations.”
In addition to the UAE and Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Jordan also reiterated their support for the Autonomy Plan.
The list of Morocco’s supporters also includes: Comoros, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Gabon, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Djibouti, Senegal, Central African Republic, Guinea, Côte d’Ivoire, Sao Tome and Principe, Paraguay, Guatemala, Saint Lucia, and El Salvador.