Meknes – Jean Paul Carteron, Executive President and Founder of Crans Montana Forum, has highlighted Morocco’s efforts to develop its southern provinces and the strong will of its people to secure the country’s territorial integrity. Such Moroccan attention and determination promises a bright future for Western Sahara, he said in an analysis titled “Morocco’s Left Hand Is Indeed Hers.”
The analysis followed King Mohammed VI’s speech, delivered on November 7, to commemorate the 45th anniversary of the iconic Green March. The Green March was a peaceful protest at the initiative of the late King Hassan II to cast the occupying Spanish forces from Morocco’s southern provinces. Approximately 350,000 Moroccans marched to the country’s south on November 6, 1975.
Carteron said that Western Sahara is “an extraordinary model of development at the industrial, economic and social level.” Morocco’s diplomatic gains in the dispute and the southern provinces’ great potential have become the “driving force of a unique development at the regional and continental level,” Carteron added.
Morocco has intensified its development efforts in Western Sahara since King Mohammed VI launched a new development model for the southern provinces in November 2015. A series of projects to improve the local population’s quality of life have led to tangible progress in the fields of health, infrastructure, renewable energy, and sea fishing, among others.
Morocco’s diplomatic progress in Western Sahara
Crans Montana’s founder pointed out King Mohammed VI’s ability to mobilize the Moroccan people to the cause, people who do not hesitate to stand behind the King and show “power, union, and discipline” in continuing to strive for Morocco’s territorial integrity.
Carteron sees the Green March as “a very strong symbol” of Moroccans’ fierce strength and resilience in terms of the Western Sahara dispute, stressing that the symbolism “is more relevant in 2020 than ever.”
In 2020, Morocco has secured significant diplomatic gains in Western Sahara. Fifteen African countries have established diplomatic representations in Laayoune and Dakhla since December 2019. On November 4, the UAE opened a consulate general in Laayoune, expanding this tangible recognition of Morocco’s sovereignty beyond its African supporters.
The executive president of Crans Montana described the royal vision regarding the southern provinces as rich with a “quality diplomacy, persevering and of good faith.” King Mohammed VI’s vision has led to developments clarifying that Western Sahara is indeed Moroccan, “that the territories have belonged to it from time immemorial.”
The president of the Ambassadors’ Circle in Paris argued that denying the Moroccan nature of the Sahara would be similar to denying “the fact that your left hand belongs to you.” Carteron said that many may consider this as a sort of irony, but “the most unbearable fact is that certain parties have been working for 45 years, shaking the world on the pretext that Morocco’s left-hand does not belong to it.”
Condemning challenges to Morocco’s Western Sahara sovereignty
Carteron stressed that no one can logically challenge the Moroccan nature of Western Sahara. Only those “jealous” of the “spectacular” developments and the “bright future” of the Sahara have a problem with its Moroccan character, he underlined.
Carteron stressed the role of the UN-led process in the push to end the hostile practices of the Polisario Front. Recently, the UN has repeatedly called on Polisario to leave Guerguerat, a town in the buffer zone near the Morocco-Mauritania border. The separatist group has and continues to challenge the status quo of the area by restricting traffic, among other violations.
He also noted that the latest resolutions of the UN Security Council “put an end to the hazy and totally unrealistic theories agitated by those who … literally wanted to isolate an entire population by [trying] to generate inaction and denial of reality in international forums.”
The Security Council adopted Resolution 2548 on October 30, amid escalating violations from the separatist group, backed by Algeria. The resolution mentions Algeria five times—as many times as it mentions Morocco. This tacitly confirms that Algeria should take a direct part in the negotiation process to find a political solution to the entrenched conflict, based on compromise.
These developments — the implications of the latest UNSC resolution and the opening of consulates in Western Sahara — Carteron said, pave the way for a “happy conclusion of this conflictual situation,” which the Algerian government has used as “a way to make its population forget the chronic bankruptcy of its institutions and its economy.”