Morocco stands fast on Western Sahara development plan

Access to the comments Comments
By Euronews
Morocco stands fast on Western Sahara development plan

<p>Morocco’s king said he will offer no more than autonomy for the disputed Western Sahara, a few days after United Nations chief called for “true negotiations” to end the four-decade deadlock over the region.</p> <p>Morocco has controlled most of Western Sahara since 1975 and claims the sparsely populated stretch of desert, which has offshore fishing, phosphate reserves and oilfield potential, as its own territory.</p> <p>However, the Algeria-backed Polisario Front seeks independence and a United Nations mission was formed more than 20 years ago ahead of an expected referendum on Western Sahara’s political future which has never taken place.</p> <p>UN special envoy to Western Sahara Christopher Ross has intensified visits to the region and Europe recently to facilitate negotiations without preconditions and in good faith, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in a statement last week.</p> <p>“This initiative is the maximum Morocco can offer,” Morocco’s King Mohamed said, referring to the autonomy plan for the region. “Its implementation depends on reaching a final political agreement under the backing of the United Nations.”</p> <p>The king was speaking late on Friday in a televised speech commemorating the 40th anniversary of the Green March day, when thousands of Moroccans marched on Western Sahara.</p> <p>“Morocco refuses any adventure with an uncertain result and that could be potentially dangerous,” he said.</p> <p>(Reuters)</p>