The head of Morocco’s permanent representation at the UN promised that the Western Sahara dispute will soon reach a solution.
Rabat – The Polisario Front’s repeated violations of the UN Security Council resolutions and Military Agreement No. 1 disqualify the separatist group’s legitimacy for participation in round table discussions on the Western Sahara dispute, said Omar Hilale, Morocco’s permanent representative at the UN.
“The UN Secretary-General’s damning report to the [Security] Council has exposed Polisario’s numerous violations of unprecedented magnitude and gravity,” Hilale said in an interview with Morocco’s state media on November 2.
The interview came two days after the UN Security Council voted in favor of Resolution 2548. The resolution renewed the mandate of the peacekeeping mission in Western Sahara, MINURSO, for one year. It also reaffirmed the “seriousness, credibility, and realism” of Morocco’s Autonomy Plan in the region.
Hilale spoke of Polisario’s recent violations in Guerguerat, near the Moroccan-Mauritanian border. On October 21, Polisario members, including women and children, defied the Security Council’s resolutions and blocked traffic in the buffer zone near Guerguerat. The group also taunted Moroccan soldiers who were guarding the region.
“These provocations could have led to severe and violent incidents, if it were not for the exemplary restraint, composure, and professional discipline of our valiant soldiers,” Hilale said.
The Moroccan diplomat explained that these destabilizing acts will completely disqualify the separatist Polisario Front from participating in the UN-led political process on Western Sahara.
Switching focus to Algeria’s role in the Western Sahara issue, Hilale highlighted Resolution 2548’s reaffirmation that the country is a party to the conflict.
The resolution mentions Algeria five times in its text—as many times as it mentions Morocco.
“Algeria can no longer have a protocol participation at the start and end of negotiations… The Security Council forces it to seriously engage in the political process until its achievement,” he explained.
As for Algeria’s support for a self-determination referendum in Western Sahara, Hilale exposed the proposal’s contradiction with the Security Council’s standards.
“Either Algeria’s diplomatic program is outdated by two decades, or the country persists in its ostrich policy,” he said.
The Moroccan ambassador explained that the Security Council has not mentioned the referendum approach, which Algeria and the Polisario Front support, from its resolutions about Western Sahara since 2001.
“By abstaining from any reference to the referendum, the Security Council has disowned opponents of our territorial integrity,” Hilale said.
Poliario featured a referendum in its counter-proposal to Morocco’s Autonomy Plan, submitted in 2007. Every Security Council resolution since has welcomed Morocco’s “serious, credible efforts” to resolve the conflict while merely “taking note” of Polisario’s plan, offering no welcome to its referendum proposal.
“This abandonment of the referendum by the Security Council has put Algeria and its Polisario in front of their historical responsibility — either resolutely engage in the political process or cause its death,” he continued.
The diplomat assured that Morocco’s diplomatic breakthroughs in Western Sahara will keep on multiplying, as illustrated by the recent opening of 15 consulates in Laayoune and Dakhla, southern Morocco.
On November 4, the UAE will open a consulate general in Laayoune, the first Arab country to do so, further adding to Morocco’s growing momentum.
“Soon, Polisario will have nothing left to do except lay down their arms, like several separatist movements around the world, and free the populations sequestered in the Tindouf camps so that they can return to their motherland, Morocco,” Hilale promised.