Staffan de Mistura, the Personal Envoy of the Secretary-General of the United Nations to the Sahara, held a lengthy meeting with elected officials in Dakhla, and sheikhs of the Sahrawi tribes at the headquarters of the Dakhla-Oued Ed-Dahab Council.
According to MoroccoLatestNews sources from within the closed session, De Mistura focused on the legal dimensions of finding a just and acceptable political solution that preserves the dignity of the political parties involved the conflict.
The same sources confirmed that de Mistura chose to listen more to representatives of the local population, and asked questions about the mechanisms for implementing the autonomy proposal proposed by Morocco in 2007.
In his speech on the occasion, Yenja Khattat, President of the Dakhla-Oued Eddahab region, gave a detailed presentation on the autonomy proposal.
The first official in the Dakhla region pointed out that “the autonomy proposal is based on internationally recognized standards, through which residents of the region exercise important powers related to a local government, a local parliament, a judicial authority, a local administration, a local police, the governor of the region, and an economic and social council for the region.”
In response to De Mistura’s question about the limitations and dimensions of the proposal, Khattat stressed the issue of preserving Moroccan sovereignty as a ground and basis for the implementation of the proposal, as the state maintains exclusive competencies pertaining to elements of sovereignty, the Moroccan flag, the national anthem and currency, as well as the elements related to constitutional and religious competences.
Wishing the proposal, the King continues to act in his capacity as Commander of the Faithful, guarantor of the freedom to practice religious rites, individual and collective freedoms, national security, external defense, the territorial integrity of the Kingdom, foreign relations and the judicial system of the Kingdom.
Regarding the UN envoy’s question about the possibility of amending this proposal, Khattat replied that “the autonomy proposal presented by Morocco is a courageous, serious, realistic and credible initiative, subject to discussion and negotiation as long as it is under the roof of Moroccan sovereignty.”
“Morocco is open and extends its hand to all parties involved in good faith, positively and in a constructive spirit, while other parties, unfortunately, remained unrealistic and bear responsibility for obstructing the solution,” responded Khattat.
In order to prepare the ground for implementing this proposal, the official stressed that “Morocco has initiated a number of important reforms that culminated in the 2011 Constitution, and the implementation of advanced regionalization, which empowered regions, especially in the south, to implement self-government under Moroccan sovereignty.”
The head of the region concluded his interventions by emphasizing that “the autonomy proposal is the only political solution that considers all parties’ interests, and that guarantees ending this long-standing problem and the suffering of the Sahrawis in the Tindouf camps.”
The meeting was an opportunity to brief the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on the level of development in the Kingdom’s southern regions.