New York (United Nations), 15 September 2021 - The United Nations Secretary-General, António Guterres, began, on Tuesday, consultations with members of the Security Council, in order to appoint Staffan de Mistura, Italian-Swedish diplomat, as his Personal Envoy for the Moroccan Sahara, MAP learned from diplomatic sources.

To confirm this information, MAP contacted Omar Hilale, Morocco's Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the UN, who kindly provided answers to the following questions.

1. According to diplomatic sources in the United Nations, the Secretary-General has begun, this Tuesday, consultations with members of the Security Council, in order to appoint Mr. Staffan de Mistura as his new Personal Envoy for the Moroccan Sahara. Could you confirm this information?

Indeed, these consultations are underway. The announcement of the appointment of Mr. Staffan de Mistura will be made in the upcoming days, after the endorsement of Security Council members.

2. Did Morocco approve this appointment?

Of course, Morocco has been consulted beforehand about this appointment and has already notified Mr. António Guterres of its approval. Morocco's approval emanates from its permanent confidence and its constant support to the efforts of the UN Secretary General, in order to achieve a political, realistic, pragmatic, sustainable and compromise solution to the regional dispute over the Moroccan Sahara.

Once appointed, we hope that Mr. de Mistura will be able to count on Morocco's unfailing cooperation and support, to implement his mediation for the settlement of this regional dispute, in accordance with the Security Council resolutions since 2007; in particular Resolutions 2440, 2468, 2494 and 2548, which have established the four-participants round table process with its modalities.

3. These consultations regarding the appointment of a successor to President Köhler take place 30 months after the latter's resignation. Why did it take so long?

First, the Secretary General had to find a qualified candidate with an international stature to resume the political process from where it left off with Mr. Köhler, which was not easy. Mr. de Mistura is a cornerstone of the UN's efforts to settle disputes peacefully. He has proven his abilities in Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq and Africa. His long international experience, his Mediterranean origins which have forged his deep knowledge of this region's issues, his understanding of North Africa's security and destabilization threats, as well as his UN-based independence and neutrality will be of great help in facilitating the political process of this regional dispute in a serene and fruitful manner.

Secondly, and also most importantly, the other parties have dithered for two and a half years, using evasive tactics to reject several of the Secretary-General's highly qualified candidates. Algeria and its armed separatist group rejected the candidacy of former Romanian Prime Minister Petre Roman, as well as that of former Portuguese Foreign Minister Luís Amado a few months later. In this way, and in order to overcome their obstruction to any candidate from a third country, Mr. Guterres had to select someone from the UN seraglio.

For its part, the Kingdom notified the Secretary-General of its approval to these two candidates in record time. It has also, as I have confirmed to you, given its approval to the candidacy of Mr. de Mistura. This candidacy that the other parties are desperately trying to sabotage, notably through false pretexts conveyed by the media in their pay, while shamelessly accusing the Secretary-General and the Security Council of being responsible for the absence of the political process.

Let us hope that they will put an end to their delaying tactics and allow, finally, the resumption of the round table process, so long awaited by the Secretary-General and the Security Council.

4. What are Morocco's expectations regarding the political process in anticipation of Mr. de Mistura's appointment?

Morocco, beyond the personality that occupies the post of Personal Envoy, remains, as it has always been, resolutely committed to the United Nations' exclusive process, in order to reach a political, realistic, pragmatic, sustainable and compromise solution to the artificial dispute over the Moroccan Sahara. 

This is in accordance with the Security Council resolutions since 2007, which consider the Autonomy Plan initiative as the serious and credible solution to the question of the Moroccan Sahara.

In this regard, the Kingdom of Morocco has solemnly reaffirmed during the two previous round tables in Geneva, in the presence of Algerian ministers Lamssahel and Laamamra, that the solution to the dispute over the Moroccan Sahara can only be Autonomy, nothing but Autonomy and only Autonomy, within the framework of Moroccan sovereignty and territorial integrity.

(Source: MAP)

Laayoune - The inhabitants of the three regions of the Moroccan Sahara have already proven in the past that they are authentic Moroccan citizens and they have just confirmed this during the municipal, regional and legislative elections held on Wednesday.

With a voter turnout of 66.94% in Laayoune-Sakia El Hamra, 63.76% in Guelmim-Oued Noun and 58.30% in Dakhla-Oued Eddahab, these three regions of the southern provinces of the Kingdom surpassed the national turnout of 50.18% recorded during these elections, according to figures issued Wednesday evening by the Ministry of the Interior.

This strong participation is a strong signal of the unwavering attachment of the inhabitants of the Sahara to their country and their effective involvement in the building of its institutions, within the framework of an advanced regionalization which paves the way to achieving further progress and prosperity.

It is also a message sent to those who still cherish their dreams of a so-called "independence" of the Sahara that the populations of this territory conceive their future and that of their children only within Morocco and its democratic institutions and not in the hellish desert of the Lahmada camps, in southern Algeria, and by plotting with a foreign country.

The separatists and their rare supporters in the southern provinces have not skimped on the means lately to try to sow doubt in the minds of Moroccans of Sahrawi origin and encourage them to "boycott" these elections, but all their efforts were in vain as they did not take into consideration the determination and the patriotism of these populations that took part in a strong manner in these elections to fulfill their patriotic duty and at the same time express their categorical rejection of these deceptive propaganda campaigns.

This will to contribute to the democratic process, by participating in the choice of the representatives of these citizens in the elected councils and within the legislative institution, has finally triumphed over all the maneuvers and all the malicious attempts of the enemies of the country’s territorial integrity. 

The three elections held on Wednesday confirmed the choice of the continuity of an irreversible historical process where one cannot conceive Morocco without its Saharan provinces and where one cannot imagine these provinces building their future outside Moroccan sovereignty.

Even before the day of the vote, the conduct of the electoral campaign in a climate of serenity and exemplary civility showed the admirable spirit of citizenship among the inhabitants of the Saharan provinces.

And it cannot be otherwise, since these populations live in peace and quiet and the southern provinces are experiencing an unprecedented development dynamic, with a growth rate well above the national average and good social indicators.

The new development model of the southern provinces, which is mobilizing investments of 80 billion DH, has radically changed the face of these regions by providing them with modern infrastructure in the areas of roads, airports, health, education, water and electricity.

But beyond these elections, the very high voter turnout in these elections takes on the appearance of a referendum through which these populations loudly proclaimed their massive support for autonomy as a unique and realistic solution to the regional conflict which has lasted for more than 40 years in this southern part of the Kingdom.

It is also about the democratic management of their local affairs, within the framework of the sovereignty of Morocco.

Indeed, and for several years now, the elected councils (municipalities, provincial and prefectural councils and regional councils) in the three southern provinces have been managed exclusively by the inhabitants of the Sahara, following democratic elections that were unanimously welcomed by the international community.

(Source: MAP)

Bern, 28th August 2021 - The Swiss Federal Court recently issued a judgment supporting and confirming the official position of the Swiss government on the issue of the Moroccan Sahara.

In its judgment, the Federal Court rejected the appeal lodged by an individual contesting the decision of the Swiss authorities to refuse, when renewing his "refugee" permit, to display the pseudo “Western Sahara” under the heading “nationality”. 

The Swiss Federal Court underlined, in its judgment that this bringing into conformity of the information, appearing in the register of the Central Information System on Migration (SYMIC), with the international position of Switzerland, has an aim of public interest relating to the country's foreign policy, it is part of a broader context in which the Confederation is committed to a just and peaceful international order, specifying that Switzerland does not recognize the peudo ''SADR'' as a "State''.

To this end, the Tribunal considers that it appears all the more important, in the light of the objectives and interests of the foreign policy that Switzerland adopts, at all levels of the Administration, a uniform and coherent position on this matter.

The decision of the Swiss Federal Court thus responds unequivocally to the disinformation and fallacious propaganda campaigns carried out by certain people among Swiss opinion makers (parliamentarians, media, journalists, associations, social networks, etc.) reporting on a so-called formal recognition of Switzerland of the pseudo ''SADR''.

The judgment published by the Federal Court also confirms, despite the actions carried out by the opponents of our territorial integrity, the new Swiss position concerning the issue of the Moroccan Sahara and refutes the allegations of the separatists and their supporters in Switzerland aiming to assert the sovereignty of a fake entity.

The Swiss Confederation, through the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA), has repeatedly reiterated, at different levels, that it supports the efforts of the United Nations and its central role in the process concerning the question of the Sahara, that it supports a political solution in accordance with International Law and the Relevant Resolutions of the Security Council, and that it remains convinced that negotiations are the only way to achieve a political, just, lasting and mutually acceptable solution.

Switzerland also welcomes the importance of Morocco's serious and credible efforts aimed at a political solution based on compromise, taking note, in this context, of the autonomy initiative presented by the Kingdom to the UN Secretary General on April 11, 2007. Switzerland also said that it encourages all parties to continue their engagement in a spirit of compromise.

In addition, the FDFA indicated "that there is no official representation of the "polisario front" to the United Nations Office in Geneva, nor to the Federal Council" and that "the person claiming to be the representative of the "polisario" in Switzerland, as well as its office, are subject to ordinary law. This means that they benefit from the rights deriving from the Federal Constitution, under the same conditions as other persons in the Swiss territory, notably the freedom of opinion, of assembly and of association".

(Source: MAP)

Rabat, July 27th, 2021 - Malawian Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Eisenhower Nduwa Mkaka announced, on Tuesday in Rabat, his country's decision to open a consulate in Laayoune.

Speaking at a press briefing following his talks with Minister of Foreign Affairs, African Cooperation and Moroccans Abroad Nasser Bourita, Malawi's top official indicated that his country has also decided to open an embassy in Rabat.

The Malawian Minister reiterated, on this occasion, the firm and unwavering support of his country for the sovereignty of the Kingdom over its Sahara and for its territorial integrity.

Nduwa Mkaka also expressed his country's gratitude to HM King Mohammed VI following the health equipment donation by the Kingdom to more than twenty African countries from the five regions of the continent.

He also praised the fill-finish manufacturing of the anti-Covid19 vaccine by Morocco, "an initiative which once again confirms the position of the Kingdom as a leading figure in the fight against the pandemic".

In addition, Nduwa Mkaka said that "our two countries have traditional relations based on mutual brotherhood", noting that his discussions with Bourita also focused on bilateral investments and "topical issues such as the fight against terrorism and mutual support within international and continental organizations".

(Source: MAP)

Rabat, July 8th, 2021 - Turkmenistan, through its deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Rashid Meredov, reiterated on Thursday its support for the Moroccan autonomy proposal for the Sahara.

"Rashid Meredov reiterated Turkmenistan's support, already expressed during his visit to Morocco in 2020, to the Moroccan autonomy proposal as well as to the efforts of the United Nations to reach a political, lasting and mutually acceptable resolution of the artificial conflict over this regional dispute", said a statement by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, African Cooperation and Moroccans Abroad, issued at the end of the fourth session of Political Consultations between Morocco and Turkmenistan, at the level of Foreign ministers, which took place by videoconference.

On this occasion, Minister of Foreign Affairs, African Cooperation and Moroccans Abroad, Nasser Bourita, held talks with Rashid Meredov.

During these consultations, the two ministers welcomed, first of all, the excellent level of the relations between the two brotherly countries and insisted on the need to raise them to the level of the aspirations of HM King Mohammed VI and President of Turkmenistan, Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov, underlined the statement.

On this occasion, Bourita and Meredov adopted a new roadmap that outlines the cooperation between the two countries during the period 2022-2023 and agreed to hold soon, in person, when the health situation allows, the first session of the Joint Commission of Cooperation.

At the multilateral level, both parties welcomed the excellent collaboration, mutual support and coordination of positions within regional and international organizations, particularly at the level of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation.

Meredov thanked Morocco for its membership in the "Group of Friends of Neutrality for the Promotion of Peace, Security and Sustainable Development", created at the initiative of Turkmenistan.

The Turkmen Minister also renewed the invitation to Bourita to make an official visit to Turkmenistan, the dates of which will be determined by mutual agreement.

(Source: MAP)

Rabat, 24th June, 2021 - Morocco appreciates the "clear and constant" position of Liberia regarding the Moroccan Sahara issue, said, Thursday in Rabat, minister of Foreign Affairs, African Cooperation and Moroccans Abroad, Nasser Bourita.

Liberia, which withdrew its recognition of the pseudo SADR in 1999, has since expressed strong support for the territorial integrity of Morocco and its national sovereignty, Bourita said in a statement to the press after talks with Liberian Foreign Minister Dee-Maxwell Saah Kemayah Sr.

The minister also recalled that Liberia was among the first countries to open a consulate in Dakhla and to consistently express its support for the Moroccanness of the Sahara.

Bourita said that the meeting with his Liberian counterpart was an opportunity to highlight the strong dynamics of bilateral relations under the leadership of both Heads of State.

The meeting allowed to agree to concretize the ambition carried by the two Heads of State to promote these relations through the roadmap signed on Thursday and which contains a series of actions on several sectors.

The two sides also agreed to hold the next session of the joint Commission early next year to, among other things, review the achievements since the last session in 2019 and set priorities under this roadmap.

The two parties discussed some regional and international issues, he said, noting that Morocco has always reaffirmed the importance of the Mano River initiative to stabilize this region and contribute to its socio-economic development, in accordance with the vision of His Majesty King Mohammed VI.

Morocco also coordinates with Liberia on issues related to the sub-regional organization of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to contribute to the stability of this region and the promotion of a model of cooperation between the Kingdom and the countries in this region, he concluded.

(Source: MAP)

Rabat, 24th June 2021 - Liberian Minister of Foreign Affairs Dee-Maxwell Saah Kemayah Sr, reaffirmed Thursday, his country's commitment to continue supporting Morocco's autonomy proposal in its southern provinces as well as the territorial integrity of the Kingdom.

"We reaffirmed our commitment to continue supporting Morocco’s autonomy proposal in its southern provinces as well as the territorial integrity of the Kingdom. We will continue to speak in favor of the role played by the United Nations as an exclusive and consensual framework to reach a lasting solution for the regional dispute," Liberian minister said at a press briefing following talks with minister of Foreign Affairs, African Cooperation and Moroccans Abroad, Nasser Bourita.

"We support the decision 693 adopted by the AU Summit held in Nouakchott in 2018 regarding the Sahara issue," he added.

He hailed the "constructive role" of the kingdom in finding a lasting solution to the current situation in Libya through hosting new rounds of the Libyan dialogue in Bouznika and Tangier.

"We support all efforts aimed at creating a peaceful environment in Libya which will enable Libyans to live in the framework of unified institutions," he said.

Regarding relations between Liberia and Morocco, the minister pointed out that "in the last few years, they have been dynamically and constructively evolving, reflecting the special bonds shared by our countries."

"We are interested not only in maintaining this momentum, but in expanding mutually beneficial cooperation in agriculture, mining, energy, tourism, education and vocational training , in a word, in all areas of mutual interest," he added.

Talks focused on the implementation of agreements reached during the second session of the Joint Commission of Cooperation held in 2019, he said, adding that they highlighted the important role of this mechanism, in particular in coordinating and adopting actions to impart new impetus to cooperation between our countries.

The relevant departments are working to hold the Commission’s third meeting in the next few months, he added.

"We highlighted the need to promote our economic relations and expand our trade. In order to do this, we have agreed to stimulate contacts between economic agencies, and to encourage business communities and investors of both countries to fully explore the possibilities offered by our growing markets", he explained.

"In this context, we consider the opening, in 2020, of Liberia’s Consulate General in Dakhla as a significant step towards the reinforcement of our economic relations with the Kingdom, which will also allow Liberia to capture future opportunities offered by Morocco’s unique position as a regional hub between Africa, Europe and the Middle East," the official pointed out.

He welcomed Morocco’s readiness to support "Liberia Vision 2030", a plan intended to promote sustained socio-economic development of the people of Liberia.

During the talks a considerable attention was given to the Nigeria-Morocco gas pipeline, that will connect Nigerian gas to every coastal country in West Africa, up to the Mediterranean shore, he said.

"We reviewed progress on the project and expressed satisfaction at the commencement of the construction activities and we are convinced that this large-scale energy project will immensely boost the region’s economic integration, and benefit all the nations involved by unlocking their industrial potential and curbing their energy deficit," he highlighted.

Naturally, Morocco can count on Liberia’s cooperation and support in achieving the targets and fast tracking the implementation of this transformative initiative, he stressed.

"We noted with satisfaction the sustained exchange of bilateral contacts and visits and decided to maintain the strong momentum, he said, reaffirming the mutual intent of the two countries to continue close interaction and coordination of positions at the United Nations, the African Union and other international forums.

"We welcome the decision of the Kingdom of Morocco to submit its candidacy as a non-permanent member of the Security Council for the term 2028-2029. We will of course support this candidature," he concluded.

(Source: MAP)

Rabat, June 17th, 2021 - The Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) Christophe Lutundula Apala Pen'Apala reiterated, on Thursday, the historical position of support by the DRC to the Moroccanness of the Sahara as well as the entire solidarity of his country with Morocco for the search for a lasting solution to this dispute, within the framework of the sovereignty of the Kingdom and under the exclusive aegis of the UN.

Lutundula Apala was speaking during a videoconference meeting with the Minister of Foreign Affairs, African Cooperation and Moroccans Abroad Nasser Bourita.

In this regard, the two ministers insisted on the need to respect the standards and procedures within the bodies of the African Union (AU), and reaffirmed the relevance of decision 693 of the AU Summit of Heads of State and of government dated July 2018, which established the exclusivity of the UN as a framework for the search for a solution to the regional dispute over the Moroccan Sahara, said a statement from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, African Cooperation and Moroccans Abroad.

In addition, the two ministers lauded the excellent and historical ties of friendship and solidarity between the two countries, which are experiencing a new impetus in accordance with the guidelines of HM King Mohammed VI and of His Brother President Félix Antoine Tshisekedi Tshilombo and their common desire to make Moroccan-Congolese relations a model of inter-African cooperation, based on the values of solidarity, exchange and sharing.

Addressing the situation in the DRC, Bourita praised the efforts made by the Congolese authorities for the promotion of democracy, security and development.

He also paid tribute to the initiatives and actions undertaken by President Tshisekedi, in his capacity as current Chairman of the AU, ensuring respect and defense of the sovereignty and unity of African States.

The minister also praised the contribution of the Congolese President to the efforts of the international community for the promotion of regional peace and stability, the statement said.

Bourita and Lutundula Apala noted the perfect convergence of their views on the various issues of common interest, stressing the importance of strengthening communication and coordination in the various international forums.

Bourita reiterated the Kingdom's commitment to support the DRC in its development efforts, particularly in areas with high socio-economic impact such as agriculture, health, water, electricity and renewable energy.

The two ministers agreed on the organization of the 6th session of the Morocco-DRC Joint Committee before the end of the year and also examined the possibility of establishing a mechanism for political consultations and scheduling a Morocco-DRC Economic Forum, in 2022 in Kinshasa, the source said.

Bourita and Lutundula Apala stressed the need to revitalize the Morocco-DRC Business Council in order to further promote trade and economic exchanges between the two countries and to take advantage of the Congolese consular presence in Dakhla, which is called to become a hub for regional economic integration, concluded the ministry.

(Source: MAP)

Rabat, June 16th, 2021 - President of the National Assembly of Serbia Ivica Dačić reiterated, on Wednesday in Rabat, his country's position in support of the territorial integrity of the Kingdom.

"Serbia, which refuses the undermining of its territorial integrity, also refuses the undermining of the territorial integrity of Morocco", underlined Dačić during his meeting with the speaker of the House of Advisors Hakim Benchamach, noting that this issue cannot be the subject of blackmail.

According to a press release from the upper house, the Serbian official also stressed that his country aspires to strengthen its cooperation with Morocco in various fields, particularly the economic and commercial ones, to raise it to the level of the excellent political relations uniting the two countries.

He also insisted on the need to further develop relations of friendship and bilateral cooperation with a view to a solid partnership, calling for continued regular coordination and mutual support within regional and international organizations, in the service of the interests of both countries.

The Serbian official also underlined the importance of raising the bilateral relations to the level of a true partnership, encompassing the political, economic and cultural fields and which will serve the higher interests of the two countries and the two friendly peoples.

In this regard, Dačić referred to the promising opportunities that Morocco offers thanks to its geostrategic position, with a view to establishing a mutually beneficial partnership.

For his part, Benchamach said that the shared views on the territorial integrity of the two countries will pave the way for the establishment of partnerships in several areas, the strengthening of bilateral cooperation and the exploration of opportunities to strengthen economic and cultural ties.

He highlighted the centuries-old historical relationship between the two countries, recalling the celebration last May of the 65th anniversary of the establishment of bilateral diplomatic relations.

The speaker of the House of Advisors recalled the role of the late HM Hassan II and the former Yugoslav President Josip Tito in the creation of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), as well as the role of the two countries in the liberation of certain African states from occupation.

Benchamach further expressed his gratitude to Serbia for its steadfast position supporting the territorial integrity of the Kingdom and the Moroccan autonomy initiative, it added.

During the meeting, the two sides stressed the importance of strengthening parliamentary relations to unify positions and reconcile views on several bilateral and multilateral issues, stressing the role of friendship and cooperation groups as a framework for examining issues of common interest, the source concluded.

(Source: MAP)

United Nations (New York), June 17th, 2021 - Gambia reiterated, before the UN C-24, its "full support for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Kingdom of Morocco over all its territories, including the Moroccan Sahara."

"Gambia's government recognizes the principle of sovereignty as a fundamental international standard that cannot be ignored in the settlement of this dispute. In this regard, the Gambian government reaffirms its full support for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Kingdom of Morocco over all its territories, including the Moroccan Sahara," Ambassador Lamin Faati, Deputy Permanent Representative of the Republic of The Gambia to the UN told the Committee.

In this regard, he recalled that his country has opened in January 2020, a Consulate General in the Moroccan Sahara "under this international standard" of the sovereignty of states over the territory.

Referring to the context of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Gambian diplomat welcomed the efforts undertaken by Morocco to expand the national vaccination campaign to the entire population of the Sahara to contain the pandemic, stressing that this commendable act does not surprise anyone "because it only reflects the long-standing commitment of Morocco to the socio-economic development of the Sahara region."

Faati recalled, "the efforts and investments made by Morocco for the human development of the Sahara population as part of the framework of the New Development Model of the Moroccan Sahara launched in 2015."

Regarding the political process, the Gambia reiterated "its full support for the ongoing political process, under the auspices of the UN Secretary-General, aimed at forging a political solution based on realism, compromise, and perseverance to resolve this dispute."

The diplomat stressed that the Gambia "encourages the favorable consideration of the autonomy initiative presented by the Kingdom of Morocco as a viable compromise solution," saying that this initiative reflects "a strong desire to resolve this regional dispute under international law.

Faati also expressed the hope that the next regional seminar of the C-24 will build on the achievements of the latest in-person seminar held in May 2019, which was marked by the participation of democratically elected representatives of the Sahara region, and accelerate the pace of the political process for the resolution of this regional dispute.

(Source: MAP)