C24: Gambia Calls Autonomy Plan 'Viable Compromise Solution' to Sahara Issue

14/05/2022 77

Castries, 13 May 2022 - The Gambia urged Thursday the international community to consider the autonomy plan presented by Morocco as a "viable compromise solution" to resolve the dispute over the Moroccan Sahara.

"The Gambia supports the autonomy plan presented by Morocco and urges that it be considered as a viable compromise solution, as this initiative shows a strong will to resolve this regional dispute and is in line with international law," the country's permanent representative to the UN Lang Yabou told members of the UN Committee of 24 (C24) at the C24 regional seminar for the Caribbean, which is being held in Castries, St. Lucia.

"The Government of The Gambia recognizes the principle of sovereignty as a fundamental international norm that cannot be disregarded in the handling of this dispute," the Gambian diplomat stressed, explaining that in "recognition of this fact, The Gambia opened, in January 2020, a Consulate General in Dakhla and continues to reaffirm its full support for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Kingdom of Morocco over all of its territories, including the Moroccan Sahara."

He added that his country is encouraged by the holding of free and fair general elections in Morocco on September 8, 2021, noting that this election resulted in "the election of representatives of Moroccan Sahara by the population to represent it."

"This is in addition to the great strides made by the Kingdom of Morocco in the field of human rights, which have been welcomed by the Security Council resolutions, including resolution 2602," he recalled.

The Gambia also welcomed the respect by Morocco of the ceasefire in the Moroccan Sahara and called on all stakeholders to do the same, as well as to ensure the respect and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms.

The Gambian representative continued that his government "notes with satisfaction" the great efforts made by Morocco for the development of the region, which, he believes, "is reason enough to accelerate the dialogue and promote peace in the region."

The diplomat also highlighted the efforts made by Morocco, in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic, to ensure a wider vaccination of the Sahara population.

"All these actions clearly demonstrate Morocco's long-standing commitment to the socio-economic development of the Sahara region," he said.

Similarly, the Gambia reiterated its full support for the ongoing political process, under the auspices of the UN Secretary General, aimed at "finding a political solution based on realism, compromise and sustainability".

"In this regard, my delegation welcomes the appointment of Staffan De Mistura as the new Personal Envoy of the UN Secretary-General for the Sahara and commends his efforts to revive the roundtable process with all stakeholders," he said.

The Gambia also supports the Security Council's call for the four parties concerned to remain constructively engaged throughout the political process in order to achieve a credible outcome.

"We are of the view that it is incumbent on all stakeholders to reach a satisfactory resolution to this regional dispute, bearing in mind that the stability and security of the Sahel region is a collective responsibility," the Gambian ambassador stressed.

Source: MAP