Participants in the Ministerial Conference in Support of the Autonomy Initiative under Morocco's Sovereignty, held virtually on Friday, stressed that the broad international support for the Moroccan autonomy initiative paves the way for a new era of peace and prosperity for the entire region.
The broad international support for autonomy "constitutes a historic opportunity paving the way for a new era of peace, stability and prosperity for the region," said Gabon's Foreign Minister Pacôme Moubelet Boubeya who spoke at the conference, which was attended by 40 countries.
The recent US decision to recognize Morocco's sovereignty over its entire Sahara offers "great opportunities" for growth and prosperity for Africa, he added.
For his part, Guatemala's Foreign Minister Pedro Brolo Vila recalled that his country has "always supported the autonomy plan" as a "serious and credible" initiative to achieve a lasting and mutually acceptable political solution to the regional conflict over the Sahara.
The autonomy plan is the only solution that meets the principle of self-determination, said his Zambian counterpart, Joseph Malangi, who described the Moroccan initiative as the only basis for achieving a solution to the regional conflict and establishing a new era of stability and prosperity in the region.
According to Christophe Farnaud, Director of the department for North Africa and the Middle East at the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the conflict, which represents a "great risk" of tensions, "has lasted too long."
"This was highlighted during the recent events in El Guergarat following the blockade by the polisario of the crossing point with Mauritania," he said.
France has always supported efforts to achieve a just, lasting and mutually acceptable solution under the aegis of the United Nations and in accordance with the Security Council resolutions, Farnaud said, recalling the French position which views the Moroccan autonomy initiative as a "serious and credible" basis for a negotiated solution.
For his part, UAE's Foreign Minister Abdallah ben Zayd Al Nahyan reiterated his country's firm and consistent position alongside Morocco in international fora, particularly on the Sahara issue.
He also recalled the UAE's support for Morocco's action to protect the security and integrity of its territories.
Echoing the Emirati FM, Qatar's Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Soltan ben Saad Al Muraikhi recalled his country's support for the "just causes" of the Kingdom, based on the principle of fraternity, friendship and active solidarity between the two countries.
The conference, co-chaired by Minister of Foreign Affairs, African Cooperation and Moroccans Abroad Nasser Bourita and US Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs David Schenker, was an opportunity for the participating countries to express their strong support for the Moroccan autonomy initiative as the only basis for a just and lasting solution to the Sahara regional conflict.