The minister said Morocco’s Autonomy Plan for Western Sahara epitomizes a pragmatic solution to the regional conflict.
Rabat – Andre Flahaut, the Belgian minister of state and former president of the Belgian House of Representatives, said King Mohammed VI’s speech to mark the 45th anniversary of the Green March embodies Morocco’s “common-sense” approach to the Western Sahara question.
In his speech on Saturday, the King reiterated Morocco’s commitment to working with the UN secretary-general within the framework of Security Council resolutions to reach a lasting solution to the dispute over Western Sahara.
King Mohammed VI defends “a common-sense solution, balanced, negotiated and respectful of the will of the citizens. This is the only possible way,” Andre Flahaut said in a statement to Morocco’s state-owned news agency.
“Today there are enough conflicts in the world of which children and families are victims,” he continued. “Political leaders must therefore, with the support and within the framework of international organizations, find the wisdom to engage in the search, for concrete and lasting solutions.”
In Andre Flahaut’s view, Morocco’s Autonomy Plan for Western Sahara epitomizes a pragmatic solution to the conflict. “It is a line that I have always followed and that the Belgian government defends,” said the minister, who has nearly five decades of experience in Belgian politics.
Morocco submitted its autonomy initiative to the UN in 2007. The plan recommends making Western Sahara a semi-autonomous region that remains under Moroccan sovereignty.
The plan would allow the region’s inhabitants to manage their social, economic, and political development while Morocco handles defense and diplomacy.
The UN Security Council has acknowledged Morocco’s Autonomy Plan as a realistic approach to solving the territorial dispute.
In his warm comments on King Mohammed VI’s Green March speech, Andre Flahaut, who is also a staunch supporter of Palestine, underlined the importance of commemorating historic events. As he sees it, celebrating such a crucial moment in Morocco’s history teaches generations of Moroccans about the past and allows them to better understand the current situation.
“Recalling historical facts and building on these facts to work in the international framework is the meaning of the King’s speech. That of finding a solution that fits precisely into the international context,” said the politician.
In his address to the nation on Saturday evening, King Mohammed VI reminded Moroccans that the Green March “is not simply a watershed in the completion of our territorial integrity. It is an ongoing process whereby we confirm the Moroccanness of the Sahara in the international arena, making its celebration a driver of economic growth at the regional and continental levels.”
Referring to the increasing irrelevance of Polisario and Algeria’s persistent push for a referendum, the King emphasized that the latest UN Security Council resolutions “have laid to rest outdated, unrealistic approaches and proposals.”
He also recalled that the UN resolutions have insisted on the full participation of all concerned parties, in addition to endorsing a political solution based on realism and consensus as the most viable path forward.
Morocco’s Autonomy Initiative enjoys the backing of the Security Council and influential global powers have described it as “the sole normal course of action for the settlement of this dispute,” the King underlined.
Echoing the King, Andre Flahaut concluded that Morocco’s “common-sense” solution for Western Sahara is the best way forward.