Morocco stresses ‘philosophy’ of autonomy plan for Sahara in Austria meeting

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Vienna – The United Nations-hosted two-day informal meeting on Sahara, held in Austria was an opportunity to “recall on the purpose and the philosophy of the Moroccan autonomy initiative,” Foreign Minister, Taib Fassi Fihri said late Tuesday.The meeting, held on August 10-11 in Durnstein near Vienna, was also an opportunity to recall “the effort to put on the table a proposal deemed as serious and credible, and which complied with international standards and the international legality,” the FM told the press after the end of the meeting.
Representatives from the parties concerned agreed to hold a new meeting to unblock the 34-year-old dispute over the Sahara. The date and venue of the next gathering will be fixed by the U.N. envoy, Christopher Ross. The Durnstein meeting allowed for “presenting the philosophy of this (autonomy) initiative as well as its details, particularly its legal dimensions related to the international law,” Fassi Fihri said.“This initiative, if both parties agree, will help find a solution that would put an end to the sufferings of our brothers held on the Algerian territory, make (family) reunions possible, and finally establish a Maghreb with the other four countries in the Arab Maghreb Union,” he added. The official deplored that the other parties “cling to a vision and to mechanisms which have proved to be inapplicable today.” “We have to adhere to a different logic,” he stressed, insisting that “the Moroccan initiative offers a margin of compromise.” He also voiced hope the upcoming meetings will be an opportunity to “pursue this exchange of discussions.” Morocco is approaching this exchange with openness and of course within the “total respect of Morocco’s territorial integrity, national unity and monarchy which unites all Moroccans.” “We believe that a lot has been done during this meeting, and we have decided to resume negotiation and discussions,” he said. The diplomat made clear that “whether the meeting is formal or informal, the Moroccan delegation will seize any opportunity to present this autonomy initiative, and to insist on its vision on the construction of the Maghreb, reconciliation and the political will to find a solution.” Fassi Fihri recalled that this meeting is the first of its kind held under aegis of the new Personal Envoy of the U.N. Secretary General, Christopher Ross, urging him to help implement the Security Council’s resolutions 1813 (2008) and 1871 (2009), which, “clearly stress the pre-eminence of the Moroccan initiative and invite the parties to show realism and a spirit of compromise, and to engage in substantive negotiations.” The Moroccan delegation to this meeting was made up of Foreign Minister, Taïb Fassi Fihri, Director of Morocco’s Intelligence Agency (DGED), Mohamed Yassine Mansouri, and Secretary General of the Royal Advisory Council for Saharan Affairs (CORCAS), Maouelainin Ben Khalihanna Maouelainin.

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