Nearly half a century since the Green March, Morocco’s soft power approach for Sahara bears fruit

Nearly half a century since the Green March, Morocco’s soft power approach for Sahara bears fruit

Since retrieving its southern territories from Spanish colonial forces 48 years ago through the Green March, Morocco has made great strides in its fight for recognition of its territorial integrity.

After nearly half a century, the Kingdom of Morocco achieved, under the leadership of King Mohammed VI, successive successes and international support for the recognition of the Western Sahara’s Moroccan origin.

Today, many countries from the Arab region, Africa, Europe, or other international regions—support the Autonomy plan, which Morocco offered, as the only realistic and legitimate Framework under which the Sahara conflict can be resolved.

To delve deeper into the issue and commemorate the umpteen diplomatic victories concerning this issue, MoroccoLatestNews spoke to Lahcen Aqartit, an expert in international relations, who enumerated and analyzed Morocco’s achievements on the Sahara file.

The Kingdom has been defending the Moroccan Sahara and provided compelling arguments and legal evidence to the United Nations to affirm the country’s sovereignty over its southern territories, explained Aqartit.

“Indeed, this is what ended up with the recognition of Morocco’s position with the UN through the adoption of the Autonomy Initiative plan in 2007, which was proposed by the Kingdom. Since then, all recommendations from the UN Secretary-General, the UN Special Envoy, and the Security Council have confirmed the Autonomy Initiative as the sole and credible solution to this conflict,” he said.

The expert added that Morocco has successfully brought attention to the involvement of Algeria in this conflict.

“The Kingdom has managed to make this conflict an exclusive matter for the Security Council, considering it falls within the Council’s jurisdiction and is related to regional peace and security,” said Qartit, stressing that “All recommendations, especially the recent ones such as Resolution 2602, N° 2654, and N° 2703, highlighting the significance of the Autonomy proposal as the prevailing approach for a realistic, and credible solution this issue.”

The glorious Green March is an event to cherish not only Morocco’s achievement in defending its legitimate territories but also to strengthen its position on the regional as well as international level.

In parallel with the efforts within the United Nations to defend the Autonomy Plan, “The Kingdom of Morocco has also worked towards obtaining international recognition. This involved significant diplomatic efforts by the country to persuade nations and by highlighting the obstacles posed by the Polisario Front and Algeria in this conflict,” explained Qartit.

“During the reign of King Mohammed VI, the Kingdom of Morocco implemented new strategies to break the deadlock and expedite the final resolution of the conflict over the Moroccan sovereignty of the Sahara. This includes efforts to secure international and African recognition. These measures aim to accelerate the peaceful resolution of the conflict,” he further highlighted.

On the African level, “Currently, more than two-thirds of African countries have withdrawn their recognition of the Polisario Front and have adopted the Autonomy Initiative, showing their readiness to expel the Polisario Front from the African Union after the historic decision made by the King to return to the African Union,” said the expert.

On the Arab region level, he said, “All Arab countries adopt the autonomy initiative and support the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Kingdom of Morocco.”

At the international level, “Morocco has gained the recognition of major countries. Only at the European level, do all major countries support the Autonomy Initiative and recognize Moroccan sovereignty over its territories. The United States’ recognition of Moroccan Sahara provided significant momentum for international recognition of Moroccan Sahara and pushed for a quick and final resolution of the conflict,” Qartit added.

Morocco’s diplomacy has undertaken new strategies based on the recognition of Moroccan sovereignty over the Sahara as a prerequisite for any international partnership, said the expert. This new paradigm has contributed to solidifying the country’s stance internationally—either through the United Nations or in international forums.

“It is no longer acceptable to Morocco’s friendly countries to remain in the grey area (meaning the countries should showcase their true stance regarding this conflict) as the king said, as the Moroccan Sahara issue can no longer tolerate delay,” Qartit concluded.

The recognition of Sahara as part and parcel of Moroccan territory by the United States, the support of Spain, and Germany for the autonomy plan, as well as the opening of the consulates by around thirty countries in Dakhla and Laayoune, all deemed commendable victories added to Morocco’s long history.

The new strategies adopted by the country –be they diplomatic or political–, clearly deepened the Kingdom’s achievements in international forums by obtaining recognition from more than 100 countries.


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