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Date of posting : July 2, 2018

Horst Köhler Pleased with his First Visit to the Southern Provinces

 The Personal Envoy of the UN Secretary General for the Moroccan Sahara Horst Köhler said, on Sunday, that he is satisfied with his first visit to the southern provinces of the Kingdom, stressing that this visit had allowed him ”to deepen his understanding of the issue”.

“I am satisfied with this visit during which I met many people and visited different places,” said Köhler in a statement upon his departure from the Hassan I airport in Laayoune at the end of his visit to the region.

He said, in this regard, that the various meetings he held were fruitful.

Köhler also commended the progress and development achieved in the region, particularly in economic and social terms, noting that the final settlement of this issue will make it possible to attract more investment to the region and create jobs, particularly for young people.

The UN official also underlined his willingness to work towards a mutually agreed solution.

Köhler’s visit to Morocco is part of his second regional tour which has already taken him to Algeria and Mauritania.

This regional tour comes following the adoption of resolution 2414 dated April 27, 2018, in which the UNSC reaffirmed the pre-eminence of the Moroccan autonomy initiative, stressed the need to make progress in the search for a realistic, pragmatic and lasting political solution to the Moroccan Sahara issue, and called on neighboring States to make an important contribution to the political process and to engage further in the negotiations.

It is worth to recall that on the occasion of the meeting in Lisbon in March 2018 with the Personal Envoy, the Moroccan delegation reaffirmed the fundamentals of the Moroccan position as reiterated in HM the King’s speech on the occasion of the commemoration of the 42nd anniversary of the Green March, on November 6, 2017:

-‘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.

-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.

-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.

-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.