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Friday, May 24, 2024

Morocco Will Never Allow Its Sahara to Become Diplomatic Maneuvering Ground for South Africa

Following the recent visit of the Personal Envoy of the Secretary General for the Moroccan Sahara, Staffan de Mistura to South Africa, MAP had an interview with Morocco's Permanent Representative to the UN, Ambassador Omar Hilale.

Question 1 : The Personal Envoy of the Secretary-General for the Moroccan Sahara, Staffan de Mistura, visited South Africa last Wednesday, at the invitation of the government of this country. Was Morocco consulted? ​ Answer:

Morocco was never consulted or even informed at any time. On the contrary, as soon as we became aware of this planned visit, several weeks ago, we directly expressed to Mr. de Mistura, as well as to the UN Secretariat, Morocco's categorical opposition to this trip, as well as our rejection of any interaction with Pretoria on the Moroccan Sahara issue, citing legitimate and objective reasons. I dare to hope that this is not a question of defiance to Morocco on the part of Mr. de Mistura, but of a simple error of assessment of South Africa’s true posture. In any case, Morocco clearly warned him about the consequences of his trip on the political process.

Question 2 :

What are these legitimate and objective reasons for Morocco against his trip to Pretoria?

Answer :

Morocco reminded the Personal Envoy of the fundamentals of his mandate, which are his letter of appointment by the UN Secretary General, which specifies that he will have to work exclusively with the four stakeholders in the political process, as well as the Security Council resolutions adopted since 2007, including 2703 of October 30.

​These resolutions make no reference to South Africa, and even less to any alleged role or contribution of this country to the political process. Listing to the Personal Envoy the multiple elements disqualifying South Africa from any interference in the Moroccan Sahara issue, I would limit myself to recalling that this country recognizes the chimerical entity and supports the "polisario" politically, diplomatically, mediatically and militarily.

For all these reasons, Morocco will never allow South Africa to have any role in the Moroccan Sahara issue. Pretoria has been and remains toxic for the question of the Moroccan Sahara.

Question 3 :

In her press briefing after her meeting with the Personal Envoy, the South African MFA said he briefed her on the approaches currently being discussed at the United Nations. What approaches does she refer to? Answer :

I am very surprised, because I do not know what the South African MFA is talking about. Morocco is not aware of any approach. And if there are approaches, it is with Morocco and the other parties that they must be discussed and not with South Africa.

For the Kingdom, there is only one approach. It is that of round tables, with the exclusive participation of Morocco, Algeria, Mauritania and the "polisario", as recommended by successive resolutions of the Security Council. This is why Morocco hopes that Mr. de Mistura will devote his efforts more to convincing Algeria to resume its place at the Round Table, as was the case in 2018 and 2019.

There is a clear and strong mandate from the Security Council to facilitate a political, realistic, pragmatic, lasting and compromise solution to this regional dispute.

To this end, His Majesty the King has charted the path for the definitive settlement of this regional dispute through the Moroccan Autonomy Initiative, within the framework of the Kingdom's sovereignty and territorial integrity.

The Vision of our August Sovereign draws its strength from international law, and its legality from its compliance with the parameters decreed by Security Council resolutions. The broad recognition and international support for the Moroccanness of the Sahara and the Autonomy Initiative reinforce the Royal Vision on a daily basis for our dear Saharan provinces, definitively and eternally Moroccan.

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