The Belgian politicians emphasized the importance of preserving ties with Morocco, a reliable partner for the EU.
Rabat – Two senior Belgian politicians are calling on the European Union to support Morocco’s Autonomy Plan for Western Sahara.
Louis Michel, the former Belgium’s Foreign Minister and Jacques Brotchi, the Honorary president of the Belgian Senate, released a joint statement on Saturday to support Morocco’s autonomy proposal as a viable way to end the conflict over Western Sahara.
In their joint statement, published by the EU Today, the two politicians extolled the decision of the US and other countries to recognize Morocco’s sovereignty over Western Sahara
Michel, who also served as former European Commissioner for Development and Humanitarian Aid, and Brotchi said the international community’s increasing support for Morocco’s stance is a positive move for “geographic, political and geo-strategic reasons.”
“Now we can see that the world is moving slowly but surely towards the recognition of the sovereignty of Morocco over Western Sahara, a positive move for geographic, political and geo-strategic reasons,” the joint statement reads.
The two politicians expressed hope to see support extended across the world, calling on the European Union to join the pro-Morocco trend to ensure stability in the region.
“It is high time for the European Union, as a global actor, to position itself on the world stage by promoting the resolution of the conflict because if Africa is unstable, Europe and the Middle East can follow suit,” they said.
The two Belgian politicians warned that stability in Europe depends on Africa’s security.
“The Sahel and the Maghreb are vital regions for the sustainability and security of our continent,” the statement added.
Morocco has long expressed concerns regarding security in Sahel, calling for a “shared responsibility”-based international cooperation to address terror challenges in the region.
Moroccan officials see the Sahel as a breeding ground for terrorism, denouncing the lack of joint cooperation between neighbouring countries to respond to the crisis.
Morocco, reliable partner for EU
Morocco and the EU share a decades-long partnership in different fields.
The partnership touches on different common challenges, including economic development, innovation, climate change, security, and migration.
Michel and Brotchi called on the EU to preserve cooperation with Morocco.
Both officials described the North African country as a “privileged and reliable partner of the EU.”
Brotchi and Michek said that Morocco became a key regional actor in creating the conditions for a realistic and effective political solution for Western Sahara.
Morocco submitted the Autonomy Plan initiative to the UN Security Council in 2007.
The Moroccan plan suggests making Western Sahara a semi-autonomous region that would remain under Morocco’s sovereignty.
The international community has frequently expressed support for Morocco’s initiative, describing it as a “serious” and “credible” route to a lasting solution to the Sahara conflict.
Michel and Brotchi also influenced Morocco’s momentum in the AU, recalling the decision of different countries to open representations in Laayoune and Dakhla.
“Since returning to the African Union Moroccan diplomacy has been particularly active, welcoming a number of African ministers on official visits. Its influence on the continent can be measured by the number of consulates opened (20 UN member states currently) since 2019 in the cities of Dakhla and Laäyoune,” the two politicians concluded.