For Morocco, the Security Council’s resolute insistence on upholding compromise and pragmatism means that a referendum can no longer be considered a serious alternative.
Rabat – The implicit meaning of the unanimity prevailing over the Security Council’s repeated push for a “compromise-based” and “pragmatic” solution means that self-determination and referendum have effectively been discarded as a way forward in Western Sahara.
This assessment is the crux of Morocco’s UN ambassador Omar Hilale’s remarks at his press conference after the Security Council’s meeting on Western Sahara on October 30. The Security Council meeting culminated in the adoption of Resolution 2494, a move that Morocco applauded for its compromise and pragmatism-driven agenda for settlement in Western Sahara.
“This resolution forcefully reaffirms the fundamental parameters of the political solution. It clearly states that the solution should be realistic, pragmatic, sustainable, and based on compromise. What does that mean in UN parlance? It means that the members of the UN Security Council have definitely buried the “old-fashioned”… and “obsolete” demands from before 2007,” when Morocco made its autonomy proposal.
“Referendum is over; referendum is dead. The members [of the Security Council] have buried definitely referendum,” he later said while answering a question on Morocco and Polisario’s conflicting views on the concept of self-determination.
Hilale explained that, in line with the latest developments in the issue, self-determination refers to self-expression and autonomous decision making, as guaranteed in regions like Laayoune and Dakhla.
After the adoption of Resolution 2494, Polisario explicitly expressed its discontent with the new roadmap, threatening to withdraw from the soon-to-be scheduled round table negotiations. The separatist front wanted the MINURSO mandate to be extended for six months instead of a year; it saw in the one-year extension a case of Morocco “exerting pressure” on the Security Council.
In response, Hilale said the Polisario Front’s response embodied the “psychology of people who have lost hope in their dreams.” He said the front, having dreamt for four decades, is finally waking up to the fact that its more than 40 years of “lies” and “selling wind and sand” will eventually catch up with them.
“They have been lying for forty years that there will be independence. There will never be independence. The only solution is autonomy under the sovereignty of Morocco. The resolutions of the Security Council are not talking about independence.”