Several international voices have reiterated before the 4th Committee of the UN General Assembly the soundness of the Morocco-proposed autonomy plan as a political solution to the Western Sahara conflict.
This proposal falls in line with international law and with the recommendations repeatedly made by the Security Council, said Paul Bunduku-Latha, president of the Observatory for mediation and conflict management in Africa (OMGCA).
The OMGCA president who urged the conflicting parties to negotiate in good faith “a mutually acceptable political solution” said the autonomy option offers a real opportunity for a negotiable compromise likely to result in a final settlement of the territorial dispute opposing Morocco and Algeria through the separatist Polisario front.
He argued further that the Moroccan proposal draws its legitimacy from the fact that it is based on democratic principles and refers to a practice successfully experienced in many democratic countries.
If the other parties (Algeria and the Polisario) are really willing to reach a settlement, it’s high time they got rid of their outdated stands, which resulted so far only in perpetuating the conflict and thereby delaying the construction of the Maghreb Union, he said.
For OMGCA president, autonomy is the best way to bring the conflict out of the impasse and end the ordeal of the populations sequestered in the Tindouf camps for 40 years. He deplored the dire living conditions of these populations who are starving, deprived of basic freedoms and having no prospects for their future.
In the same vein, Andrew Rosemarine, a prominent British lawyer and human rights defender, said before the 4th Committee that the autonomy option is the best solution to the conflict that is likely to ensure “welfare to the majority of Sahrawis.”
It is a “fair, flexible and insightful offer” which can lead to “the construction of a modern democratic society based on the rule of law, individual and collective freedoms, as well as social and economic development,” he said.
Under the autonomy plan, the Sahrawis will be able to manage their own affairs democratically, through legislative, executive and judicial bodies locally elected or appointed. In addition to that, the plan will put an end to separation and exile and promote reconciliation and reunion, said the British lawyer.