King Mohammed VI of Morocco affirmed on Monday that his country backs and remains deeply committed to engaging in the dynamic initiated by UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres regarding the Sahara issue.
In his speech made to the Nation on the occasion of the 42nd anniversary of the Green March, the Moroccan Sovereign also renewed the North African Kingdom’s commitment to collaborating with the UN Secretary General’s Personal Envoy, while recalling Morocco’s red lines in this regard.
“No solution is possible 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”, explained the King in his speech.
Drawing lessons from past experience, the problem does not lie so much in “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”, stressed the Sovereign, making reference to Algeria’s involvement in this artificial regional dispute.
He also said that the UN Security Council is the only international body tasked with overseeing the settlement process, rejecting any transgression or attempt to infringe on Morocco’s legitimate rights or its interests.
The Moroccan Sovereign also rejected “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”.
But, “we will not sit by and wait for the desired solution to be found. Instead, we will press ahead with our endeavors to promote development in our southern regions and offer our populations their freedom and dignity”.
The king went on to day that Morocco will continue to apply the development model specifically designed for these regions and seek, in parallel, to implement the advanced regionalization plan, which will enable the inhabitants of the region to run their own affairs democratically and to contribute to its development.
“The projects I have launched, and those to follow, will turn the Moroccan Sahara into an integrated economic hub that will enable the region to play its role as a link between Morocco and countries further down in Africa. It will also serve to connect the countries of the region”, explained the Monarch.
This development model is “not just about the economy. It is an integrated societal project aimed at ensuring human fulfillment, preserving people’s dignity and making sure man is front and center in the development process”, added the Sovereign.
He also said this development model lays special emphasis on the preservation of the Saharan cultural heritage due to the importance of heritage for the people of the region.
“I therefore care deeply about the Hassani culture and see to it that it is properly showcased, by providing the cultural amenities and facilities required, promoting artistic initiatives and events, and honoring the men and women involved in culture, creativity and the arts”, underlined King Mohammed VI.
He also said that he is interested in promoting all the components making a unified Moroccan identity, noting that there is no difference between any of the cultural and linguistic characteristics across Morocco’s regions – in the Sahara or the Sousse region, in the Rif region, the Atlas Mountains or the eastern part of the country.
However, “caring about the local cultural heritage does not mean promoting intolerance or reclusiveness, nor should it be a pretext to foster extremism or separatism”, warned the Monarch, calling for the promotion of the local heritage as a means to show Morocco’s cultural diversity and its pride of all the components of Moroccan national identity, in a country which fosters unity among its regions.
“It is our collective duty to safeguard this national cultural heritage, to preserve its components and to promote communication and interplay between those constituents while being open to universal values, to other civilizations and to the knowledge and communication-based world”, added the King in his speech.