Western Sahara: Morocco Confronts Algeria’s ‘Decolonization’ Rhetoric

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Omar Hilale, the permanent representative of Morocco to the UN.

Rabat – Omar Hilale, the permanent representative of Morocco to the UN, has responded to Algerian diplomacy’s latest pro-Polisario claims, pointing out Morocco’s dialogue offers and the disputed region’s historical Moroccanness.

Hilale’s comments came in response to a pro-Polisario statement from the Algerian delegation at the virtual Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) meeting on October 9. 

In an attempt to gain sympathy and gather support for “Sahrawi nationalism,” the Algerian delegation likened the situation in Western Sahara to the plight of former European colonies, which now form the NAM movement. Western Sahara, it argued, is a “matter of decolonization.” 

Responding to the claims, Hilale stressed Morocco’s historical right to the disputed territories. He also spoke about Morocco’s development efforts in the territories, local Sahrawis’ attachment to their Moroccanness, as well as Rabat’s documented commitment to the ongoing UN-led political process.

“Morocco would have wanted the participants to stop attacking the territorial integrity and sovereignty of their neighbor,” Hilale said of the Algerian delegation’s talking points. To the arguments of “decolonization” and “Sahrawi nationalism,” he replied by highlighting the territory’s historical Moroccanness.  

Rather than a “decolonization struggle,” he argued, the Western Sahara conflict is an Algeria-backed ploy to undermine Moroccan interests and territorial integrity. “Respect for territorial integrity is a cardinal principle for Morocco and the Non-Aligned Movement and should not be used in variable geometry.”

“The political process has had a positive momentum,” he said of the UN-led process. Hilale also reaffirmed Morocco’s commitment to finding a sustainable solution to the conflict. He recalled that all the latest UN resolutions unanimously acknowledged Morocco’s efforts to find a permanent settlement.

This is not the first time Hilale has used the NAM platform to confront and “demystify” Algeria’s “fictive” claims on the Western Sahara conflict. 

In October of last year, the Moroccan diplomat told NAM participants that the Western Sahara issue is “artificial conflict” initiated by Algeria to destabilize Morocco and challenge Morocco’s territorial integrity. 

He also insisted that a compromise-based resolution, as highlighted in both Morocco’s Autonomy Proposal and the latest UN resolutions, “is the only solution to the conflict.”

Source: moroccoworldnews.com