Ahead of the upcoming UN Security talks on Western Sahara, the Moroccan stance continues to make notable gains.
Rabat – In yet another morale-boosting development for Morocco’s Western Sahara stance, the UN 4th Committee has concluded that a compromise-based solution, as put forth by both the Security Council and Morocco’s proposal, constitutes “the most viable solution” to the territorial conflict.
With the upcoming UN talks on Western Sahara on the horizon, the Moroccan Autonomy Plan continues to gain widespread support in the international community. Many countries have either praised the “pragmatism” and “seriousness” of the country’s initiative or pointed out how it closely reflects the international consensus over a UN-brokered, compromise-based solution.
Reiterating the growing international consensus, the majority of governments at the recent UN 4th Committee debates highlighted their support for a compromised-based, UN Security Council-moderated settlement process as laid out in the Moroccan Autonomy Plan, MAP reported earlier today.
The report, summarizing the most consequential points the UN committee discussed in the past days, as well as the content of the resolution that resulted from the debates, noted that one unmistakable recurrence throughout the debates was the unanimous support over the UN-led political process. For many of the government representatives who spoke at the UN event, focusing on separatism or self determination would generate more complications in an already convoluted crisis.
Not only is self-determination obsolete for the current context in Western Sahara, they argued, it stands in stark contrast with the latest developments and the series of UN recommendations and resolutions for a lasting and negotiated solution to the conflict. They highlighted that since 2007, when Morocco proposed a “serious” and “credible” Autonomy Plan, the UN has markedly moved away from self-determination and referendum to focus on “political compromise” as the most serious and feasible way out of the political quagmire in the disputed territories.
The majority of petitioners on the UN committee stressed “the pertinence of the Moroccan initiative and its accord with international standards,” according to the MAP report.
In their resolution, the 4th Committee referred to the different interpretations of self-determination in international law: Independence or national sovereignty, free association with an independent state, free integration in an independent state, or “acquisition of any other political status.”
They went on to show in their assessment of the best course of action for the Western Sahara dispute that Morocco’s proposal, more in line with free association with an independent state or free integration in an independent state, “represents the most modern and democracy-friendly reading of self-determination.”
Western Sahara ‘not a matter of decolonization’
While separatism would further complicate the crisis, prolong the “suffering of Tindouf refugees,” and breed more instability in the region, the committee argued, Morocco’s autonomy proposal opens an avenue for “a practical solution that favors a win-win spirit whereby locals are allowed self-governance [under Moroccan sovereignty] in total respect of universal human rights and locals’ cultural and linguistic specificities.”
Responding to the Morocco-friendly conclusions of the committee, Omar Hilale, the Moroccan representative at the UN, reiterated the “historical Moroccanness of Western Sahara.”
In addition to the disputed territories being historically Moroccan, he asserted, Morocco’s legitimacy and sovereignty claims on the territories have become even more defensible with the 2007 Autonomy Plan. Hilale said Morocco’s proposal entails “pragmatism,” political compromise, “colossal development projects in the southern provinces” and is “the sole and unique incarnation” of the solution sought by the UN-led process.
“The Western Sahara issue is not a de-colonization matter,” Ambassador Hilale said. He explained the support that Morocco’s proposal boasts from “many locals in the southern provinces” as well as the “numerous human rights violations by the Polisario in Tindouf camps.”
The conclusions of the 4th committee are not binding, although they come in prelude of this month’s planned discussions at the Security Council over the UN’s next move in the conflict. The conclusions constitute, however, opinions that the UN Security Council, the organ recognized as the only legitimate broker of the Western Sahara conflict, would take into account or not when deliberating on the next phase of the peacekeeping efforts in the territorial dispute.
Meanwhile, in their assessments, both Ambassador Hilale and the concert of 4th Committee petitionists urged the Security Council to uphold its own latest resolution on the conflict and push for a realistic, pragmatic, and compromised-based sustainable solution.”