Morocco's ambassador to Serbia and Montenegro, Mohamed Amine Belhaj highlighted the unprecedented and all-encompassing development momentum in the Moroccan Sahara region thanks to the development and investment policy of the kingdom.
The Moroccan Sahara region stands out as an economic hub and a major pole of South-South cooperation, Belhaj said in an interview with the Serbian paper "Politika", adding that the population of the southern provinces of the Kingdom are involved in political life and choose their representatives in local councils and parliament.
The diplomat stressed Morocco's strong commitment to the political process of settling the Moroccan Sahara issue, under the exclusive aegis of the United Nations, on the basis of the autonomy initiative described as "serious, credible and realistic" by the Security Council in 16 resolutions, and within the framework of the full sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Kingdom, an initiative that will enable the population to democratically manage its local affairs.
He added that like previous resolutions, the latest UN resolution (resolution 2468 adopted on April 30, 2019), calls for a political, realistic and lasting solution to the Sahara issue based on compromise.
He noted that the Security Council resolution enshrines Algeria's role as a major stakeholder in this dispute and recognizes that Algeria's strong, continuous and constructive involvement is necessary to put an end to this long-standing regional dispute, adding that Algeria should therefore assume its responsibility in this conflict, given that it shelters, finances, arms and diplomatically supports the separatist entity by diverting aid intended for the population of the Tindouf camps in order to finance regional destabilization practices.
Belhaj underlined that some parties continue their propaganda and disinformation with the aim of distorting the nature of this regional conflict and falsifying historical facts and realities, noting that the issue of the Moroccan Sahara is a matter of completing territorial integrity in accordance with international law, and that those who refuse to accept such realities are still prisoners of outdated doctrines inherited from the Cold War.
Belhaj also highlighted the situation of the persons held against their will in the Tindouf camps on Algerian territory, who suffer the worst forms of violations of international humanitarian law and human rights, given that Algeria fails to fulfill its international obligations in the camps.
The ambassador said that the continued diversion by Algeria and the polisario of humanitarian aid intended for this population, revealed by a report of the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) in 2015, was recently denounced in a draft resolution of the European Parliament.