In a landmark speech delivered on the occasion of the 39th anniversary of the Green March, King Mohammed VI reaffirmed Morocco’s determination not to cede an iota of its territory over the “Western Sahara,” and called on the United Nations and the United States to clarify their positions on the conflict.
While recalling that Morocco has shown readiness and good faith in solving the territorial disputed based on a spirit of compromise and a win-win approach, he emphasized that Morocco’s sovereignty over the territory is “not negotiable.”
“It must be emphasized, however, that Morocco’s sovereignty over its entire territory is effective, inalienable and non-negotiable,” the King said.
He stressed that the autonomy plan, presented by Morocco to the Security Council in April 2007, is “all Morocco can offer” in terms of negotiations with the Polisario, adding that any deviation from the political process or an approach that doesn’t respect the country’s sovereignty over the ‘Western Sahara’ would undermine the United Nations action.
“The autonomy initiative is the maximum Morocco can offer in terms of negotiation to achieve a final solution to this regional conflict,” he noted.
Echoing the Moroccan government’s concerns over the attempts made by the Polisario, Algeria and their supporters to expand the mandate of the United Nations Mission for the Organization of the Referendum in the Western Sahara (MINURSO) to include the monitoring of human rights, the Moroccan monarch emphasized that he rejects any such attempts.
“No’ to any attempt to reconsider the principles and criteria of the negotiation process, or any attempt to revise and expand the MINURSO mandate to include such matters as the supervision of the human rights situation,” he said.
In this regard, he called on the United Nations to clearly determine the way in which it intends to address the issue moving forward and avoid any deviation from its core mandate in the conflict.
While he valued the “positive role” played by the United States in finding a political solution to the conflict, he stressed that its position on the conflict remains ambiguous. He, therefore, called on the American administration to clearly define its position.
“While valuing their support for Morocco’s efforts and for the negotiating process on the basis of the autonomy initiative, I am calling, today, for a clear position concerning this conflict,” he noted.
“At a time when they reaffirm that Morocco is a model for democratic development, an influential state in ensuring security and stability in the region and a partner in the fight against terrorism, there is some ambiguity in the way they deal with the question of its territorial integrity,” he added.
While the United States has often expressed its support to the UN-led political process to achieve a political and mutually acceptable solution to the conflict, it never clearly showed a clear support to the Moroccan stance.
“We continue to consider as serious, realistic and credible the autonomy proposal made by Morocco to settle the dispute”, has been the same statement repeated by every U.S official in recent years, be it President Barack Obama, Secretary of State, John Kerry, or the US Ambassador to Morocco, Dwight Bush, last month.
The American ambiguity on the conflict was in display in April 2013 when the then US Representative to the United Nations, Susan Rice, presented a draft resolution to the Security Council that contained a provision calling for the expansion of the mandate MIUNRSO to include a human rights monitoring mechanism.
This provision was finally dropped from the draft resolution following a diplomatic campaign led by Morocco to avert such scenario.