Oman Reaffirms Support for Morocco’s Autonomy Plan in Western Sahara


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Rabat – Oman joined a cluster of countries to express support for Morocco’s Autonomy Plan for Western Sahara during the 75th session of the UN General Assembly’s Special Political and Decolonization (Fourth) Committee.

Oman said the Moroccan autonomy initiative is a “final solution” to the regional dispute in Western Sahara, Morocco’s state media reported Thursday. 

“My country supports the autonomy initiative for the southern provinces presented by the Kingdom of Morocco to the international community as a final solution to this issue,” a written statement from the Omani delegation at the UN affirmed.

Morocco submitted its autonomy initiative to the UN in 2007. The plan suggests making Western Sahara a semi-autonomous region that remains under Morocco’s sovereignty.

The plan would allow the region’s inhabitants to autonomously manage their social, economic, and political development, while Morocco’s government would handle Western Sahara’s defense and diplomacy.

The sultanate of Oman has publicly supported the autonomy initiative since January 2019. 

Oman’s statement to the Fourth Committee added that Morocco’s Autonomy Plan “has been qualified as serious and credible by the Security Council in all its relevant resolutions.”

In Resolution 1754 of April 2007 and its resolutions on Western Sahara since, including Resolution 2494 of October 2019, the UN Security Council “takes note” of the Autonomy Plan and “welcomes the serious and credible Moroccan efforts” to solve the dispute over the territory.

Read also: Morocco, Oman Hopeful for the Future of Bilateral Relations

Oman also urged all parties to the conflict “to react to international efforts to resolve this dispute through political negotiations, in accordance with relevant international resolutions.” 

The Gulf country underlined “the importance of reaching a political, realistic and pragmatic solution to the Sahara issue on the basis of compromise.”

The statement welcomed the previous UN-led roundtables that gathered Morocco, Mauritania, the Polisario Front, and its backer, Algeria, for negotiations. Oman encouraged the actors to continue their engagement within the framework of the roundtable process to “strengthen security and stability in the region.”

The Omani delegation also lauded Morocco’s cooperation with the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. As well, the statement recognized Morocco’s efforts to promote economic and social development in its southern provinces.

Arab support for Morocco in Western Sahara

Oman joins the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Qatar, Bahrain, and Yemen in reiterating its support for Morocco’s position in Western Sahara before the UN Fourth Committee. The Arab countries each issued statements in October to reaffirm the centrality of the autonomy initiative and Morocco’s sovereignty over the region. 

The UAE is set to become the first Arab country to open a diplomatic representation in Morocco’s southern provinces, a physical manifestation of Emirati recognition of Morocco’s territorial integrity. 

During a phone call with King Mohammed VI on October 28, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan announced the UAE’s decision to open a consulate general in Laayoune.

Laayoune and Dakhla in southern Morocco are two cities separatists consider to be “contested territory.”

The UAE’s decision adds to Morocco’s growing diplomatic momentum in Western Sahara. The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Nasser Bourita, said such momentum is the product of King Mohammed VI’s insightful vision

Celebrating the opening of five new African consulates general in Dakhla and Laayoune, Bourita vowed that “this momentum will continue further.”

So far, 15 African countries have opened consulates in the two cities: Cote d’Ivoire, Comoros, The Gambia, Guinea, Gabon, Sao Tome and Principe, the Central African Republic, Burundi, Djibouti, Liberia, Burkina Faso, Guinea-Bissau, Equatorial Guinea, Eswatini, and Zambia.