François Grosdidier

Morocco's autonomy plan in the Sahara will promote stability and security in the region, while meeting the democratic aspirations and sustainable development needs of the population, French Senator Francois Grosdidier said Wednesday before the 4th Committee of the United Nations General Assembly.

 "The Moroccan autonomy plan responds to democratic aspirations and sustainable development needs, in its economic, social and environmental dimensions, while respecting the identity of the populations," Grosdidier pointed out.

The autonomy under the Moroccan sovereignty, he continued, can contribute to stability and regional security, noting that this is not a "minor issue in the Sahelo-Saharan region."

"The persistence of the jihadist presence shows the difficulty of neighboring states to exercise effective sovereignty over these huge territories," said the French senator, adding that "an independent Sahara would be unable to control its vast territory with such a low population density".

Such a territory "would become a lawless area while it is today the most stable and safe in the entire Sahelo-Saharan region," he said.

"We also know the active role of Morocco in the security, diplomatic and religious areas because thanks to HM King Mohammed VI, Commander of the Faithful, the Kingdom is at the forefront of the fight against extremism," Grosdidier said.

"Thanks to its Sahara which stretches to the Mauritanian border, Morocco can play a vital role to promote the stability of this vast region, which also conditions the security of the Maghreb, the Sahel, the Middle East and Europe," the French senator pointed out.

The settlement of the dispute through the Moroccan autonomy proposal "would allow the entire Maghreb to take a good step forward," he said.