Since former US President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Morocco’s sovereignty over the Sahara, other countries and groups are expected on this issue. Europe is particularly concerned because of its proximity to Africa. This is what politicians of great stature have understood very well. This is the case of Louis Michel, Belgian Minister of State and Jacques Brotchi, Honorary President of the Senate of Belgium who published a column on the European site eubriefs.com where they explain why the solution of autonomy under Moroccan sovereignty is the solution. We are reproducing this entire forum.
Western Sahara: the time is right for autonomy under Moroccan sovereignty
In politics, “momentum” is decisive. He makes us understand the need to go in the direction of history. This is why we ask ourselves the question of the future of Western Sahara tossed around over the years, conflicts, diplomatic agreements between Algeria, Spain, Mauritania and Morocco, to the detriment of the local population. entitled to claim a life of dignity, peace and promising future.
We believe that the process of this dispute needs a new lease of life in order to put an end to destabilization actions in the particularly strategic and dangerous Sahel-Saharan region. The future of Europe depends on stability in Africa and more particularly on this region, considered by some to be the border of southern Europe. The Biden administration, well aware of the stakes, does not seem to want to question the Moroccan character of the Sahara.
Diplomatic efforts, however laudable they may be, do not make it possible to unblock this frozen conflict opposing the Shereefian Kingdom to the Sahrawi separatists, supported by Algeria.
The holding of a self-determination referendum by the UN seems abandoned and is no longer addressed in UN texts. The proclamation of the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic by the Polisario Front in 1976, supported by a declining Algeria, did not have the hoped-for echo. In other words, support for separatists whether in Europe, the Arab world or Africa is weakening. This assertion was largely confirmed during the Ministerial Conference in Support of the Autonomy Initiative under the Sovereignty of Morocco which was held on January 15 under the auspices of the Shereefian Kingdom and the United States. On this occasion, the participants pledged “to plead in favor of a solution based solely on the Moroccan Autonomy Initiative”.
What makes us say that we are moving slowly but surely towards the recognition of the sovereignty of Morocco on Western Sahara, and this for geographical, political and geostrategic reasons.
It is high time for the European Union, as a global actor, to position itself on the world stage by promoting the resolution of the conflict because if Africa is primarily concerned, Europe and the Middle East follow suit. We know that “security in Africa is a condition of European security”. The Sahel and the Maghreb are vital regions for the sustainability and security of our continent.
Morocco, a privileged partner of the EU, a dynamic and forward-looking country, could be the key regional actor to create the conditions for a realistic, secure, sustainable and effective political solution for Western Sahara. Since its return to the AU, Moroccan diplomacy has been particularly active, welcoming a number of African ministers on official visits. Its influence on the continent can be measured by the number of consulates open (20 UN member states currently) since 2019 in the cities of Dakhla and Laäyoune.
We can only see the economic development of this region, taking advantage of its resources, the education system and Moroccan funding as well as foreign investments. This prosperous economic development goes hand in hand with local governance based on respect for the law. It goes without saying that this management prefigures what autonomy within the framework of Moroccan sovereignty could offer to the whole of this region. It would be the source of a new era of peace and prosperity for the entire sub-region, bringing opportunities for the youth of the African continent.
It is up to us to unite our efforts to achieve a just, lasting and mutually acceptable solution under the aegis of the United Nations. The Moroccan Autonomy Initiative is a window of opportunity that must be seized as a “serious and credible” basis to reach a negotiated solution. An indefinite extension of the current status quo, in a strategic area whose stability is closely linked to that of the African continent, or even the Mediterranean basin, is not viable, as the recent breaking of the ceasefire by the Polisario proves. end of last year. It is time to put an end to this question left open for more than forty years, to the detriment of an entire region.
Louis Michel, Minister of State
Jacques Brotchi, Honorary President of the Belgian Senate