On the 45th anniversary of Morocco’s historic Green march, King Mohammed VI renewed Morocco’s firm position that it will continue to safeguard its territorial integrity and sovereignty over Western Sahara.
Rabat – King Mohammed VI has condemned the Polisario Front’s recent provocations in Guerguerat, a town near the Moroccan-Mauritanian border, and the separatist group’s maneuvers seeking to undermine the stability and security of Morocco’s southern provinces.
In a speech marking the 45th anniversary of the Green March, King Mohammed VI renewed Morocco’s steadfast and principled position regarding its territorial integrity and sovereignty over Western Sahara.
The King opened his speech by emphasizing the importance of the Green March as an exemplary peaceful rally that brought together over 350,000 Moroccans in November 1975 to force Spain to hand over the southern provinces to their rightful country.
The monarch also paid tribute to his father, the late King Hassan II, who called for the historic demonstration through a televised speech.
The world was surprised to see the profound influence of King Hassan II’s speech on the Moroccan people, who traveled across the country to its south carrying flags, qurans, and patriotic spirit.
Today, King Mohammed VI recalled that the Green March was a historic event, a peaceful demonstration that enabled the country to reclaim its southern provinces.
“Through a peaceful march, which enabled our country to recover its southern provinces, Moroccans proved to the world their ability to rise to challenges and make history,” he said.
Celebrating the mass demonstration, the King said that the Green March is an “ongoing process whereby we confirm the Moroccanness of the Sahara in the international arena.”
Firm position against Morocco’s violations
In his speech, the monarch condemned Polisario’s maneuvers threatening the security of the region and also violating the status quo of UN-restricted areas.
Recently, Polisario launched a hostile campaign in Guerguerat, a town near the Moroccan-Mauritanian border.
Its violations include blocking commercial and civil traffic in Guerguerat, a hub connecting North and Sub-Saharan Africa and part of the buffer zone.
Despite warnings from the UN, the Polisario Front and its supporters defied the resolutions and recommendations of the Security Council, UNSG, as well as the peacekeeping operation in the region, MINURSO.
Photos and videos show Polisario supporters carrying separatist flags and sitting on roads to block traffic in the region.
Some photos also show Polisario members attacking officers of Morocco’s armed forces in the region.
Morocco condemned the violations, saying that such maneuvers disqualify Polisario’s legitimacy for participation in round talks in search of a mutually acceptable solution to end the conflict.
The UN Secretary General also expressed deep concerns, urging Polisario to leave the area.
According to UN resolutions, actors in the area can take no measure that could constitute a change of the status quo in the buffer zone.
The King today echoed the UN’s concerns, saying that Morocco categorically rejects “the unacceptable practices designed to disrupt the normal flow of traffic between Morocco and Mauritania, change the legal and historical status of the territory east of the berm, or illegally exploit the region’s resources.”
The monarch said that Morocco will respond to the violations with the “utmost firmness and resolve, to any practices or attempts designed to undermine the security and stability of its southern provinces.”
King Mohammed VI also expressed trust in MINURSO and the UN to continue to carry out their duties in terms of preserving the ceasefire in the region.
Momentum of Security Council resolutions
The anniversary of the Green March comes days after the Security Council member states voted on Resolution 2548, renewing the mandate of MINURSO for one year.
Morocco expressed satisfaction with the new resolution, which calls for the engagement of all parties to the conflict to contribute to the UN-led political process to find a mutually acceptable solution.
The resolution also welcomed the holding of roundtable talks, calling for more support for the political process to find an agreed-upon political solution to the conflict.
King Mohammed VI welcomed the Security Council’s reaffirmation in the text of the need for compromise and the participation of all parties. He said that all resolutions have insisted on “the actual participation of the real parties concerned in this regional conflict and have irreversibly endorsed the political solution based on realism and consensus as the path forward.”
The resolution directly called on all parties to show support and engage in the political process to find a solution.
The text’s language contradicts Algeria’s claims distancing itself from the dispute. Tebboune’s government continues to consider itself as an observer to the conflict and not a main party.
However, the new resolution mentions Algeria five times — as many times as it names Morocco. The language underscores the UN Security Council’s tacit acknowledgment that Algeria is a full-fledged party to the conflict.
The monarch also recalled some of Morocco’s recent diplomatic gains, including the opening consulates by several sovereign states in the country’s southern provinces.
Sixteen states, including the UAE and 15 African countries, now have consulates in Dakhla and Laayoune.
“A number of sister nations have opened consulates general in the cities of Laayoune and Dakhla, thereby explicitly and unequivocally recognizing the Moroccanness of the Sahara. They are, thus, attesting to the security, stability and prosperity enjoyed by the inhabitants of our southern provinces,” he said.
The monarch also renewed Morocco’s satisfaction with its decision to return to its home: The African Union.
“At the level of the African Union, and with Morocco’s return to its African family, this pan-African organization has freed itself from the manipulations it had been subjected to for years,” the monarch said.
Polisario and its supporters in the AU, including South Africa and Algeria, had taken advantage of the empty seat, after Morocco left the African body for 33 years, to challenge Morocco’s territorial integrity.
Polisario’s supporters have also tried to have the AU interfere in Western Sahara, a concept that several African states have rejected, emphasizing the centrality of the UN as the exclusive body in charge of helping to find a mutually acceptable solution to the conflict.
For the King, the African Union has now “adopted a constructive stance, which consists in providing full support — through the UN Secretary-General and the Security Council — to the United Nations Organization as the sole institution in charge.”