King Mohammed VI of Morocco reaffirmed Monday the Moroccanness of the Sahara excluding any settlement of the Sahara issue outside the full sovereignty of Morocco.
This came in a speech he delivered on the occasion of the 42nd anniversary of the Green March that had enabled Morocco to recover its southern Sahara provinces which were occupied by Spain.
This 42nd anniversary and the speech that his grandfather, the late King Mohammed V, delivered at the Sahara village of M’hamid El-Ghizlane, epitomize “the covenant that binds the Throne and the people,” King Mohammed VI said.
“The historic speech at M’hamid al-Ghizlan is highly significant for several reasons. Not only does it represent a milestone in the completion of our territorial integrity, but it also confirmed a basic fact, which no one can deny, namely the Moroccanness of the Sahara and the Moroccan people’s unwavering commitment to their land,” the Sovereign pointed out.
He recalled that immediately after Morocco recovered its independence, long before the question of the Sahara was tabled at the United Nations in 1963, at a time when no claims had been put forward regarding the liberation of the Sahara, except for Morocco’s legitimate demands, and even before Algeria became independent, the late King Mohammed V had “reiterated Morocco’s historical and legal rights in respect of the Sahara.” The late King had then “solemnly and publicly declared to the representatives of the Sahrawi tribal Sheikhs, who swore allegiance (bei’a) to him, that he would continue to work to recover the Sahara, in keeping with Morocco’s historical rights and in accordance with the will of the region’s inhabitants,” King Mohammed VI said.
At the international level, he added, Morocco remains committed to engaging in the current dynamic wanted by the UN Secreatry General Antonio Guterres, and to collaborating with his Personal Envoy, while keeping in mind the need to adhere to the related firmly established principles and terms of reference on which the Moroccan position is based.
In this vein, the King reaffirmed that no settlement of the Sahara issue can be envisioned except within the framework of Morocco’s full sovereignty over its Sahara, and within the Autonomy Initiative.
He also pointed out that all the parties that fabricated this artificial dispute must fully shoulder their responsibility in order to reach a final solution, insisting that the UN Security Council is the only international body tasked with overseeing the settlement process of this artificial regional conflict.
King Mohammed VI also reaffirmed “the outright rejection of any transgression or attempt to infringe on Morocco’s legitimate rights or its best interests; rejection of any obsolete proposals designed to divert the settlement process from the set terms of reference, or to introduce or impose other issues which are dealt with by other relevant bodies”.
At the internal level, King Mohammed VI stressed that Moroccans are not going to “sit idly by waiting for the desired solution”, but they will rather pursue, he said, “the endeavors to promote development in our southern regions and offer our populations there freedom and dignity”.