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Date of posting : March 9, 2018

Lisbon Meeting is Not Talks Process, But Rather First Meeting to Discuss Evolution of Moroccan Sahara Issue, Official

The meeting on Tuesday in Lisbon of a Moroccan delegation with the UNSG personal envoy for the Moroccan Sahara Horst Kohler is not a talks process, but rather a first meeting to discuss the evolution of the Moroccan Sahara issue, said, on Thursday, Minister delegate for relations with parliament and civil society, government spokesperson Mustapha El Khalfi.

The meeting was an occasion to talk about the roots of this artificial conflict that dates back to the 70s and recall the conditions that led to the emergence of this regional conflict and its legal, political and geostrategic dimensions, said El Khalfi at a press briefing held after the weekly cabinet meeting.

The Lisbon meeting was also an occasion to recall the outstanding efforts made nationally, under the leadership of HM King Mohammed VI, whether concerning the regional development model, the extensive regionalisation or the autonomy proposal presented by Morocco, El Khalfi said, noting that the Moroccan delegation gave, on this occasion, additional details about the autonomy plan, its very rich content and its very solid legal bases.

El Khalfi said that the cost of a non Maghreb was also discussed in the meeting, which took place in a clear and candid climate.

He underlined that all components were tackled as part of the fundamentals of the national position as stressed in HM the King’s speech on the 42nd anniversary of the Green March, on Nov. 6, 2017, where the sovereign highlighted the four broad lines of the Moroccan position, namely: firstly, ‘No’ to any solution to the Sahara question other than within the framework of Morocco’s full sovereignty over its Sahara and the Autonomy Initiative, which has been declared serious and credible by the international community; secondly, draw lessons from past experience, for the problem is not so much finding a solution as determining the process that produces it; for this reason, all the parties that have concocted this dispute must fully shoulder their responsibility in order for a final solution to be reached; thirdly, ensure full compliance with the terms of reference adopted by the UN Security Council when addressing this artificial regional dispute, for the Security Council is the only international body tasked with overseeing the settlement process; fourthly, outright rejection of any transgression or attempt to infringe on Morocco’s legitimate rights or its best interests; rejection of any obsolete proposals designed to divert the settlement process from the set terms of reference, or to introduce or impose other issues which are dealt with by other relevant bodies.