Morocco's permanent representative to the UN, ambassador Omar Hilale, shed light, at the Caribbean Regional Seminar of the UN Special Committee on Decolonization held in Saint George’s, Grenada, on the historical truths, the legal bases and the political dimensions of the Moroccanness of the Sahara.
Hilale has pointed out that the Sahara issue is a question of territorial integrity and national sovereignty of Morocco and not of decolonization.
The Sahara issue doesn’t date back to 1963 or 1975; it is rather anchored in the history of Morocco and its identity, he said, noting that before the Spanish colonization of the Sahara in the late 19th century, this region has never been a terra nullius but rather a part of the national territory of Morocco.
This was confirmed by the advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice in 1975, which recognized the existence of ties of allegiance of the populations of the Sahara to the Kings of Morocco and the authority of the Moroccan Sovereigns over this region.
This allegiance continues to be reaffirmed every year to His Majesty the King on the occasion of the Throne Day, he said, recalling that it was Morocco, not Algeria or other countries, which inscribed the Sahara issue at the United Nations in 1963, as a territory which belongs to it, while it was still under Spanish occupation.
The "polisario" was not even created by Algeria at this time.
The United Nations resolutions at that time asked Spain to give back the Sahara to Morocco through negotiation. This was achieved by the signing of the Madrid Agreement in 1975, which was recognized by the UN General Assembly, the diplomat said, adding that this recognition closed the chapter of the return of the Sahara region to the motherland, Morocco.
Hilale said that all the previous plans aimed at settling the Sahara issue were obsolete and were buried by the Security Council and the UN Secretary General since 2004, while Algeria and the "polisario" continue to be attached to these inapplicable and unrealistic plans.
Hilale also shed light on the responsibility of Algeria in maintaining this regional dispute.
"It is Algeria that created the + polisario +, it is Algeria that hosts it, it is Algeria that gives it practically an extra-sovereign territory in the Tindouf camps - the only camps in the world that are managed by a non-state entity - it is Algeria that provides weapons to it, it is Algeria which carries out diplomatic campaigns, it is also Algeria which pays Independent Diplomat – a lobbyist group - to write notes, make campaigns for + polisario +, and send tweets. Now, Algeria takes part at the round tables. It is quite normal that Algeria, which was at the beginning of this dispute remains until its end," he said.
Following the failure of all the previous plans, and in response to the call of the Security Council and the international community, Morocco presented in April 2007, the Autonomy Initiative in order to settle the issue, he said.
Commenting the Geneva Round Tables, Hilale said these meetings are an opportunity that should not be missed, adding that the Security Council has defined the real stakeholders in this dispute, namely Morocco, Algeria, Mauritania and the "Polisario" and that there is no longer, for the executive body of the United Nations, "parties or neighboring countries".
He also noted that the latest Security Council resolution (N° 2468) adopted on 30 April 2019, has mentioned Algeria as many times as Morocco.
The Moroccan diplomat added that the two round tables held in Geneva were attended by democratically elected representatives of the Moroccan Sahara, who explained the significant democratic and socio-economic progress of their respective regions, "as they have done here at the Granada seminar ".
He also condemned Algeria's opposition to the census of populations in the Tindouf camps, in violation of the Security Council resolutions since 2011 and international humanitarian law.
"The Tindouf camps are the only ones in the world where neither the United Nations nor any UN agency knows how many people live there, we will always ask for a census," he pointed out.
Hilale also highlighted the political achievements and socio-economic developments in the southern provinces.