Morocco says its autonomy proposal for Western Sahara should end stalemate

26 September 2008

Morocco’s proposal for autonomy for Western Sahara is the result of broad international consultation and should end the stalemate on the issue at the United Nations, the country’s Prime Minister told the General Assembly today.

Speaking at the annual General Debate, Abbas El Fassi said the Initiative for Negotiating an Autonomy Statute for the Saharan Region was proposed “in the aim to put an end to this artificial conflict and overcome the stalemate.”

He added that the initiative has already been described as serious and credible by the Security Council and follows international negotiations and “a process of extensive national negotiations with the population of the Sahara region.”

Mr. El Fassi stressed that Morocco remained strongly committed to the UN-backed negotiations with the Frente Polisario to find a solution to the conflict in Western Sahara “that is respectful of its national sovereignty, territorial integrity and where the autonomy applied to this region benefits its population.”

He added that a solution to Western Sahara would also help bring a stronger and more integrated Arab Maghreb Union in North Africa.

The UN Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO) has been in the Territory since September 1991 to monitor the ceasefire between Morocco and the Frente Polisario.

Morocco holds that its sovereignty over Western Sahara should be recognized, while the Frente Polisario’s position is that the Territory’s final status should be decided in a referendum that includes independence as an option.


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Security Council extends UN mission in Western Sahara for another year

The Security Council today extended until 30 April 2009 the mandate of the United Nations mission in Western Sahara (MINURSO), tasked with monitoring the ceasefire between Morocco and the Frente Polisario and organizing a referendum on self-determination.