Morocco’s King Mohammed has said he is to launch a commission into a large scale devolution process which will cover all parts of his country.
His announcement is largely seen as an attempt to regularise Morocco’s claim to Western Sahara by giving it the same status as neighbouring Moroccan regions.
Western Sahara is the site of Africa’s longest post colonial conflict. Morocco laid claim to it just prior to Spain giving up its colonial control in 1976.
The so-called “Green March,” in which the actions of 350,000 Moroccan civilians forces the issue of ownership over the region, is an event celebrated annually by Rabat each November.
Morocco’s plan for devolution is being seen by Spain and the UN as a basis for dialogue although the “Polisario Front” independence movement of Western Sahara has said it is not enough.