Arab countries show their support for Morocco's territorial integrity at the UN

Saudi Arabia, along with the United Arab Emirates, Jordan and Qatar continue to show their firm support for the solution offered by Morocco to resolve the Western Sahara conflict
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PHOTO/ARCHIVO  -   United Nations Headquarters

In the Fourth Committee of the United Nations, a committee held to deal with issues related to decolonisation, an important majority of Arab countries have declared their public support for Morocco's territorial integrity.

Thus, countries such as Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Bahrain and Jordan have publicly announced their support for Morocco's territorial integrity on the question of Western Sahara. They are followed by the United Arab Emirates, Yemen, Kuwait and Oman, which have previously reiterated their full support for the Alawi kingdom. The countries mentioned underlined "the efforts made by the kingdom to find a political and realistic solution to the problem of the Moroccan Sahara".

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REUTERS/DENIS BALIBOUSE  -   UN Special Envoy, Staffan de Mistura

The Saudi Arabian ambassador, Abdullah al-Mouallimi, was among the first to show his support for Morocco in this context, stressing that "Saudi Arabia rejects any prejudice to the higher interests or to the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Kingdom of Morocco". Furthermore, he reiterated his "welcome" to the holding of the two round tables on the Moroccan Sahara in which Morocco and the Polisario Front are expected to participate. Algeria was also expected to take part in these negotiations, but its announcement that it was abandoning the round table has hindered a situation that still lacks tangible solutions.

In view of this situation, the UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres, has asked Algeria to return to the negotiating table, without having obtained a clear response from the North African country. Mouallimi called for "a continuation of this approach in order to reach a final solution to this protracted conflict", in accordance with the principles of international law, the UN Charter and the resolutions of the Security Council. He also recalled the importance of reaching a solution through "wisdom, realism and a spirit of compromise on the part of all the factions concerned".

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AFP/ SALVATORE DI NOLFI  - UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres

On the other hand, Qatar has renewed its support for a "lasting and compatible" political solution to the Western Sahara issue in order to achieve "stability and security in the Sahel region". The Permanent Representative of the State of Qatar to the United Nations, Alia Ahmed bin Saif, said that "Qatar supports the efforts of the UN Secretary-General to reach a permanent and compatible political solution under the supervision of the United Nations". He said that Morocco's solution was "a constructive initiative and a basis for any realistic solution".

Qatar and Saudi Arabia were joined by the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, which renewed its support for Moroccan sovereignty, praising its "serious and realistic" character. Thus, Jordan's permanent representative to the UN, Mahmoud Dhaifallah Al-Hamoud, noted that the kingdom values "Morocco's positive involvement in finding a credible political solution". 

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PHOTO/ONU -  Security Council file photo

He told the members of the UN Fourth Committee that this initiative allows "the implementation of the relevant resolutions of the Security Council and the General Assembly".

In this way, Morocco has important support for its sovereignty over Western Sahara. Furthermore, in the new Security Council resolution, the UN has limited MINURSO's mission to merely observing the ceasefire agreement signed by Morocco and the Polisario Front in 1991. This decision was welcomed by Morocco as the referendum, one of the issues on which the UN mission started, "is an option discarded by the Security Council".

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PHOTO/ONU/MARTINE PERRET - Peacekeepers from the United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO) consult a map as they travel through vast desert areas of Smara, Western Sahara.

However, the Polisario Front announced last November that it considered the ceasefire agreement signed with Rabat to have been broken, a fact that has increased tension in the region.  

This situation is also marked by the appointment of the new UN special envoy for Western Sahara, the diplomat Steffan de Mistura, who will try to mediate in a situation that is far from easy in the region. The conflict, one of the longest running on the international stage, is facing escalating tension between Morocco and the Polisario, as well as a volatile scenario of disagreements between Algeria and Morocco. Algeria, a key country in the solution to the problem, has not taken a position on the issue after leaving the negotiating table and making an entrenched conflict even more difficult.

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PHOTO/ ARCHIVO - Elections Morocco

For three decades the Western Sahara conflict has been categorised as a 'frozen conflict'. However, the frenetic diplomacy and conflict in the Maghreb region has meant that the conflict can no longer be sustained, and a solution has to be found. To this incandescence, former US President Donald Trump recognised Morocco's sovereignty over Western Sahara and Morocco began to engage in diplomatic relations with Israel, a historic milestone that set aside differences to look beyond them.

On this issue, the last elections held in the region of Laayoune highlighted the high turnout in favour of the Sahrawi population's stance on the "Moroccanness" of the Sahara, a remarkable fact that brings positions closer together in an interlocking scenario.