Belgian Official Welcomes Economic Development in Western Sahara

photo: rudivervoort/ Twitter

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Rabat –  The Minister-President of the Brussels-Capital Region in Belgium, Rudi Vervoort, welcomed the economic development that Western Sahara has witnessed under the leadership of Morocco’s King Mohammed VI.

The Belgian official told Morocco’s state media that he personally witnessed the “extraordinary” development in Laayoune and other coastal towns in the southern provinces, which places the region “at the heart” of the image of the economic renewal in Morocco.

He also said he was “touched” by the Moroccan people’s attachment to the southern provinces.

Vervoort’s statements followed the 45th anniversary of the Green March. Morocco celebrates on November 6 of every year the historic march of 350,000 Moroccans into the Sahara desert to condemn Spain’s occupation of the region.

In his speech on the Green March anniversary, King Mohammed VI pledged that Western Sahara will be “an engine of development at the regional and continental levels,” with a main focus on the maritime potential of the southern provinces.

The King also shed light on the under-construction Dakhla Atlantic port, noting that it aims to reach the success of Tanger Med port, in being the leading port in Africa.

King Mohammed VI also stressed the importance of the tourism and fishing sectors in the region. “This would … make it [further developing Western Sahara] a strategic pillar for revitalizing the tourism sector, turning the region into a prominent destination for beach tourism,” he said.

The Autonomy Plan

In addition to remarks on the region’s development, Vervoort shed light on support for Morocco’s efforts at the institutional level, with Morocco’s Autonomy Plan to address the Western Sahara question.

The Belgian official said that the Autonomy Plan is “the path on which we must in the coming years because it is the subject of a fairly broad consensus internationally.”

The Autonomy Plan, he argued, is a process that “major” nations widely support, stressing the importance of finding a solution within a consensual framework.

The Belgian official’s support for Morocco’s Autonomy Plan consolidates the growing pro-Morocco momentum on the Western Sahara issue on the international level.

Since King Mohammed VI sent a letter in April 2007 to Kofi Annan, the former Secretary-General of the UN, suggesting the Autonomy Plan as a solution to resolve the Western Sahara issue, several countries and institutions across the world have welcomed the initiative.

Most recently, France and the US affirmed that they consider Morocco’s Autonomy Plan a “serious, credible and realistic” solution to the dispute. 

Their statements came after the Security Council adopted on October 30 Resolution 2548, renewing the mandate of MINURSO for one year and, consistent with previous resolutions, welcoming Morocco’s “serious, credible” efforts to find a political solution to the conflict.