"Recognition of the sovereignty of Morocco over Western Sahara, a positive move," say Louis Michel & Jacques Brotchi

'In politics, "momentum" is everything: but it is important that we understand the need to go with the flow of history,' say senior Belgian political figures Louis Michel and Jacques Brotchi.

"This is why we are currently addressing ourselves to the question of the future of Western Sahara, a region tossed around over the years with conflicts, diplomatic agreements between Algeria, Spain, Mauritania and Morocco, and all too often to the detriment of the local population, who should be entitled to a reasonable expectation of a life of dignity, peace and a promising future," the two statesmen said in a statement.

Louis Michel Smiling

"We believe that the process of this dispute needs a new lease of life in order to put an end to destabilising actions in the particularly strategic and dangerous Sahel-Saharan region. The future of Europe depends on stability in Africa, and most particularly in this important region, seen by many as the border of southern Europe. The Biden administration, well aware of the high stakes, does not appear to want to question the Moroccan character of the Sahara.

"Diplomatic efforts, however laudable they may be, do not make it possible to unblock this frozen conflict between the Kingdom of Morocco and the Sahrawi separatists, supported by Algeria.

"The holding of a self-determination referendum by the UN seems to have been largely abandoned and is no longer addressed in UN texts.

Jacques Brotchi

"The proclamation of the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic by the Polisario Front in 1976, supported by a declining Algeria, did not have the hoped-for response. Support for such separatist movements, and their murderous tactics, whether in Europe, the Arab world, or in Africa is weakening, a welcome development that was largely confirmed during the Ministerial Conference in Support of the Autonomy Initiative under the Sovereignty of Morocco which was held on January 15th under the auspices of the Kingdom of the Shereefian and the United States. On this occasion, the participants pledged 'to plead for a solution based solely on the Moroccan Autonomy Initiative'.

"Now we can see that the world is moving slowly but surely towards the recognition of the sovereignty of Morocco over Western Sahara, a positive move for geographic, political and geo-strategic reasons.

"It is high time for the European Union, as a global actor, to position itself on the world stage by promoting the resolution of the conflict because if Africa is unstable, Europe and the Middle East can follow suit. We all understand and accept that “security in Africa is a condition of European security”, and the Sahel and the Maghreb are vital regions for the sustainability and security of our continent.

"Morocco, a privileged and reliable partner of the EU, a dynamic and forward-looking country, has now become a key regional actor in creating the conditions for a realistic, secure, lasting and effective political solution for Western Sahara. Since returning to the African Union Moroccan diplomacy has been particularly active, welcoming a number of African ministers on official visits. Its influence on the continent can be measured by the number of consulates opened (20 UN member states currently) since 2019 in the cities of Dakhla and Laäyoune."

Louis Michel, Former State Minister.

Jacques Brotchi, honorary Président of the Belgium Senate.

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