Morocco’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Nasser Bourita, has urged European countries to join the international community that publicly supports the Moroccan Autonomy Plan in Western Sahara.
“Europe must come out of the comfort of saying that there is a process, and we support this process, even if this process is to last for decades,” Bourita said, hinting at the passive, neutral diplomatic discourse that some European countries continue to adopt despite recent developments.
Bourita made the statement on Friday, January 15, during a high-level conference on the Autonomy Plan. The virtual session brought together ministers and senior diplomats from 40 different countries.
So far, Morocco’s Autonomy Plan has secured the official support of dozens of countries, mainly from Africa, the Gulf, the Caribbean, and Latin America.
Meanwhile, the recent support of the US, a major global power and a permanent member at the UN Security Council, is expected to encourage more countries to follow suit and officially recognize Morocco’s territorial integrity.
Based on Bourita’s statement, the Moroccan diplomacy is interested in garnering the support of the EU and European countries.
The US’ recognition of Morocco’s sovereignty over Western Sahara should “interpellate Europe on its degree of commitment” to advocate for an achievable solution to the territorial dispute, Bourita declared.
According to the FM, there are already several “signals” proving that European countries are in favor of Morocco’s Autonomy Plan.
The “signals” include Morocco-EU agreements, which cover Western Sahara as well, and the national positions of several states that consider the Autonomy Plan to be the basis of a realistic solution to the territorial dispute, the minister explained.
Bourita, however, believes these indicators are not enough and that the EU must officially declare its support for the Autonomy Plan in order to accelerate the UN-led process in Western Sahara.
“There must be a movement within Europe to support the only possible solution for the Sahara issue, which is autonomy under the sovereignty of the Kingdom [of Morocco],” he said.
Bourita’s hopes may not be very far-fetched. After the US recognized Morocco’s sovereignty over Western Sahara, on December 10, many indicators hinted at a possible shift in the position of European countries in favor of Morocco’s Autonomy Plan.
In Poland, several companies, supported by a state-financed investment fund, expressed their hopes to invest in Morocco’s southern provinces.
In Germany, the national parliament recently cancelled a vote on proposals about Western Sahara that contained language challenging Morocco’s territorial integrity.
Finally, in France, a member of parliament from Emmanuel Macron’s La Republique En Marche (LREM), the largest party in the country, said earlier this week that Morocco “can count on France” regarding the Western Sahara issue.