After the US president declared his recognition of Morocco’s sovereignty over Western Sahara, other countries are stepping forward to clarify their positions.
Rabat – The foreign ministries of Greece and Malta have reiterated support for the UN process to find a mutually acceptable and lasting solution to the Western Sahara dispute.
The Foreign Ministry of Malta said in a tweet on December 12 that its position on the conflict remains unchanged, despite US President Donald Trump’s declaration of support for Moroccan sovereignty over the region just two days earlier.
Malta said it supports a just, lasting, and mutually acceptable political solution in accordance with international law.
The Foreign Ministry of Greece underlined the importance of respecting the 1991 UN ceasefire between Morocco and Polisario. Greece also expressed its “full support” for UN efforts towards a peaceful settlement to the Sahara issue in accordance with the Security Council resolutions, namely resolution 2548 of October 30, 2020.
Resolution 2548 provided for the extension of the mandate of MINURSO, the UN peacekeeping mission in Western Sahara, for an additional year.
On October 30, at the UN Security Council, the United States expressed support for the ongoing political process in Western Sahara and urged the parties to the dispute to resume negotiations “in good faith.” The US and France, two permanent members of the Security Council, also acknowledged Morocco’s 2007 Autonomy Plan as a credible basis for negotiations.
In recent years, the international community has increasingly welcomed Morocco’s demonstrated commitment to the UN-led process and respect for the ceasefire with Polisario.
Morocco’s 2007 Autonomy Plan is also earning favor among international observers.
The plan suggests making Western Sahara a semi-autonomous region under Morocco’s sovereignty. The Sahrawi population would manage their social, economic, and political affairs while Morocco would handle the region’s diplomacy and defense.
A growing number of countries see Morocco’s Autonomy Plan as the most viable route to a lasting solution to the Sahara crisis. The US president notably declared last week in his presidential proclamation that the Autonomy Plan is the only solution to the dispute.
Despite Morocco’s efforts to resolve the territorial dispute in accordance with international law, the Algeria-backed Polisario Front continues to destabilize the region and impede the UN political process.
Polisario’s frustration with the UN process, which appears to increasingly favor Morocco, manifested in a number of anti-Morocco protests and blockades of the Guerguerat border crossing between Morocco and Mauritania since September.
Morocco decided to act on November 13 to end a three-week Polisario blockade of the Guerguerat crossing that stranded hundreds of truck drivers and cut off goods to Mauritanian markets. The Guerguerat road is the only land connection between Morocco and the rest of sub-Saharan Africa.
The Moroccan army ended the blockade and established a “security cordon” at the crossing to secure the flow of people and goods between Morocco and Mauritania.
Morocco’s action in Guerguerat earned international support as it was non-offensive and displayed Rabat’s respect for the ceasefire.