The UK ambassador to Morocco spoke about his country’s position on Western Sahara after Rabat and London signed a Post-Brexit Association Agreement.
Rabat – The British ambassador to Morocco, Thomas Reilly, has renewed his country’s commitment to the UN-moderated political process in Western Sahara, echoing the prevailing consensus around the necessity of a compromise-based resolution.
Speaking on Saturday, OCtober 26, in a brief interview with Moroccan television channel 2M, the British diplomat said that his country supports a “just, pragmatic, sustainable, mutually acceptable and compromise-based” political solution to the territorial dispute.
The UK, he argued, “understands very well the importance and the centrality” of the Western Sahara conflict for Morocco.
Referring to the ongoing political process to broker a lasting settlement in the longstanding conflict, he said the United Nations must play an exclusive role in the political efforts, he said.
“It’s up to the United Nations to find a solution and we have to find the solution through the United Nations,” Reilly said. This emphasizes the exclusivity of the UN as the only body as the only legitimate–and responsible–entity to help find a mutually acceptable solution for the conflict.
London is part of the permanent members of the Security Council, which is set to vote on a new resolution on the conflict on October 30. The resolution is set to extend the mandate of the peacekeeping mission in Western Sahara, commonly known as MINURSO.
The mandate of the mission will expire on October 31.
Reilly also spoke favorably of Morocco’s settlement proposal for the decades-long dispute. He said that the UK“welcomes the serious and credible efforts of Morocco to find a solution to the conflict.”
Morocco’s Autonomy Plan, which was submitted to the UN in 2007, has been described by most members of the Security Council, notably France and the US, as a “serious and credible” political solution to the conflict.
Meanwhile, that sentiment was echoed at the latest UN General assembly, with a growing number of UN member states saluting Morocco’s “serious and pragmatic” settlement proposal.
This, coupled with Morocco’s development strategy for its southern provinces, has buttressed the prevailing notion that Morocco’s proposal is the surest and most feasible way out of the diplomatic stalemate in Western Sahara.
For the first time in decades of negotiations, the former UN envoy for Western Sahara, the German Horst Kohler, succeeded in convincing Morocco, Algeria, Mauritania, and the Polisario Front to sit at the same negotiating table in December 2018 and March 2019 in Geneva.
Reilly hinted at the momentum built under Kohler, stressing that the conflicting parties in Western Sahara should “redouble their efforts” to find a mutually acceptable solution. He said that his country welcomed the progress made through the two Geneva round tables.
The ambassador’s remarks come in the aftermath of a “continuity agreement” between Rabat and London to preserve the “strategic relations” between the two countries despite Brexit.
The agreement, signed yesterday in London, “guarantees the continuity of our relations after Brexit,” according to Ambassador Reilly.