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Spanish Minister of Defense Margarita Robles has qualified her country’s support of Morocco’s Autonomy Plan as the “best decision for Spain.”

In March, Spain officially endorsed Morocco’s Autonomy Plan, describing it as the most serious and credible basis to end the dispute over Western Sahara.

“When a decision of this kind is made, all the necessary elements of judgment are in place. In This context, the President of the Government, Pedro Sanchez, has made the best decision for Spain,” Robles told Spanish television channel Trece on Tuesday.

Defending her country’s new option amid criticism from Spanish MPs and Polisario’s supporters, the Spanish official said the decision came to light  after “reflection and an assessment of the situation.”

Like many of her colleagues from the  Sanchez government, Robles also believes that the Spanish support for Morocco’s Autonomy Plan could contribute to maintaining stability in the disputed region. Madrid’s endorsement of Rabat’s initiative is a largely positive development for Spain and the whole Mediterranean region, she emphasized.

Robles’s remarks echo comments by a number of senior Spanish officials in the past few days. 

On Monday, Spain’s Secretary of State for Foreign and Global Affairs Angeles Moreno Bau similarly argued that in addition to being  “coherent and respectful of international law,” Spain’s newfound position on the Sahara dispute stems from the country’s desire to contribute to regional stability. “The Spanish government defends a position which is in line with the principles and parameters of the United Nations Charter and its resolutions,” Bau stressed.

Global support

While Algeria appears to have been particularly frustrated by Spain’s embrace of Morocco’s Autonomy Plan, many other countries have over the past years and months expressed support for the Moroccan initiative by describing it as the most viable way out of the lingering Sahara dispute. 

At the latest annual meeting of the UN’s C24 committee held this week in New York, the UAE  reiterated its unchanging support of the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Morocco over its southern provinces in Western Sahara.

“My country supports the autonomy initiative presented by Morocco and which the Security Council has described as serious and credible to propel the process towards a settlement.”

For the UAE, as Morocco’s Autonomy aligns with the spirit and substance of all the recent UN Resolutions on the Western Sahara affair, it represents an “important” step toward a lasting solution to the territorial dispute.

Like the UAE, Gulf countries like Kuwait and Saudi Arabia have also emphatically spoken in support of Morocco’s Autonomy Plan.

During the C24 meeting, Saudi representatives at the UN also stressed that the Moroccan Autonomy Plan is the most serious and credible proposal to resolve the decades-old dispute. They especially renewed their country’s recognition of Morocco’s efforts to find a realistic and consensus-based political solution to the crisis.

Most notably, perhaps, Saudi Arabia has over the past months been unambiguous in its rejection of any challenge to the supreme interests of Morocco, its sovereignty, and its territorial integrity.

Saint Lucia also renewed support for Morocco’s Autonomy Plan during the annual C24 meeting, emphasizing that the 18 successive Security Council resolutions on Sahara commended Morocco’s efforts, including the autonomy initiative.

The country has equally reiterated its support for the UN-led political process to end the dispute over Western Sahara, highlighting the seriousness and viability of Morocco’s autonomy proposal.

The Western Sahara dispute has been ongoing for over four decades. While the past four to five years have seen a resurgence of optimism amid what many have called a “new momentum,” UN efforts to broker a sustainable and mutually accepted settlement in the region have dispiritingly stagnated as a result of Algeria’s reluctance to genuinely engage in the political process as a full-fledged party to the conflict.

Source: Morocco World News.