King Mohammed VI reiterated on Friday that the autonomy proposal made by Morocco is the only solution for the settlement of the Western Sahara issue while he held Algeria responsible for the continuing plight of the Sahrawi populations in the Polisario-run Tindouf camps.

“Those who are waiting for any other concession on Morocco’s part (other than the autonomy initiative) are deceiving themselves,” said the sovereign in a speech he delivered from Laayoune, the major city of Western Sahara, on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of the Green March that sealed the recovery by Morocco of the territory that was occupied by the Spanish colonial power until 1975.

The king deplored that the people in Tindouf, in Algeria, continue to suffer from poverty, despair, deprivation and the systematic violation of their basic rights.

“Algeria has done nothing to improve the living conditions of the Tindouf camp population, which is 40,000 at the very most i.e. the equivalent of the population of a medium-sized neighborhood in Algiers,” said King Mohammed VI, accusing Algerian officials, who spend billions of Euros to arm the separatists and finance their propaganda and apparatus of repression, of having “turned the free, respectable sons and daughters of the Sahara into beggars of humanitarian aid.”

Talking of the Sahara province future prospects, the King announced the effective launch of regionalization in these provinces before expanding the process to other regions. After 40 years, this step has become necessary, he said, announcing “aradical break with the manner in which Sahara issues have been dealt with so far: a break with the rentier economy and privileges, a break with poor private sector involvement and a break with the mentality of centralized administration.”

Henceforth, the provincial development model of Western Sahara will privilege openness onto the private initiative, in addition to the launch by the State of major social and infrastructure projects. The flagship project will be the construction of a 1000 km-long express way between Tiznit, Laayoune and Dakhla, along the Atlantic coast.

In addition to speeding up the integration of these provinces in the country’s economy, this development model will enhance the influence of Western Sahara as “an economic hub and as a crucial link between Morocco and its African roots,” said King Mohammed VI.