The Paraguayan parliament’s move to renew “commitment to Morocco’s territorial integrity” is part of a larger story: Rabat’s reassuring diplomatic foray in Latin America.
Rabat – Paraguay’s Chamber of Deputies, the lower house of Latin American country’s parliament, has adopted a resolution in support of Rabat’s position on the Western Sahara region in southern Morocco.
In a declaration following the vote, the Paraguayan parliament insisted that Morocco’s autonomy plan, which has largely been described as serious and credible, is the only viable route to a lasting settlement in the Western Sahara territorial dispute.
The move makes Paraguay part of a growing list of Latin American countries that are now voicing support for Morocco’s proposal at the expense of their hitherto inclination—pronounced or subtle—of the Polisario Front’s self-autonomy and decolonization rhetoric.
“This new resolution, the third of its kind in less than two years, is a new achievement for Morocco’s national cause and a clear support for both the autonomy project and Morocco’s sovereignty and territorial integrity,” Moroccan state-owned newspaper MAP said of the Asuncion’s move.
While MAP’s assessment exudes some bits of exaggeration, the evaluation holds and it boils down, at its most basic, to the readily recognizable sense of regained morale that has characterized Morocco’s Latin America diplomacy in the past six months.
In June, Morocco’s FM, Nasser Bourita, embarks on a Latin American tour in what ostensibly an attempt to engineer a pro-Morocco momentum in a region whose historical affinity with Marxism-inspired “revolutionary” groups came with a certain preference for Polisario’s side of the Western Sahara story.
The Moroccan FM’s tour bore fruits, with Brazil, Brazil, Surinam, Chile, El Salvador, and the Dominican Republic, officially voicing their support for Morocco’s “credible” and “pragmatic” Western Sahara stance in the immediate aftermath of Bourita’s visit.
Some other countries from the region have since followed suit by either suspending their recognition of Polisario’s statehood claims or downright rejecting the front’s “rigid” and “unviable” insistence on self-autonomy and referendum.
While the Paraguayan parliament’s move cannot be said to be a direct offspring of what some have termed Morocco’s Latin American “diplomatic remontada,” in reference to the encouraging developments that followed Bourita’s tour, it is hard to resist the suggestion that Asuncion’s newfound “commitment to Morocco’s territorial integrity” is at the very least an essential part of Latin America’s perceivably decisive drift towards Rabat.
Apart from the usual praise of the “pragmatism,” “credibility,” and “political feasibility” of its Autonomy proposal, another feature of Rabat’s recent successes in Latin America appears to be the perception among many diplomats and observers that Morocco is serious and reliable in its increased promotion of South-South cooperation.
Often unarticulated in most of the pro-Morocco declarations on Western Sahara is the idea that in addition to its perceived commitment to a lasting political settlement for Western Sahara, Morocco’s encouraging experiences in a wide-range of “common challenges” (transnational security, for example) have gradually made it an invaluable partner to have.
“Regarding Morocco’s territorial integrity, Paraguay reiterates its unconditional support for Morocco’s position on this conflict and for all initiatives in support of the kingdom,” Paraguay FM, Luis Alberto Castiglioni, said recently. “We are very pleased that relations between Paraguay and Morocco are at their best and we are working to make them even better.”