Maghreb Arab Press, MACP (Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, March 20, 2013) — Côte d’Ivoire today expressed clear and unequivocal support to the Sahara as Moroccan territory, stressing that Morocco’s autonomy plan is “an appropriate solution to definitely settle the conflict.”
Yesterday, Senegalese president, Macky Sall, in a joint communiqué at the end of the official visit by HM King Mohammed VI, also reiterated his country’s support for Morocco’s autonomy initiative for its Sahara territory, which has been subject to a decades-long dispute with Polisario separatists based in Algeria.
Resolution of the conflict has taken on new international attention and urgency in light of the rising threat from al-Qaeda-linked extremists in nearby northern Mali and the need for greater regional cooperation to prevent their spread across the Sahel and the West/North Africa region.
A Moroccan-Ivoirian joint communiqué released Wednesday as HM King Mohammed VI is paying an official visit to the West African country stressed that “regarding the Moroccan Sahara issue, the two heads of state underlined that the persistence of this conflict represents a potential threat to the territorial integrity and safety of states of the region and an obstacle to the development of regional integration, meeting the aspirations of African peoples.”
In this context, Cote d’Ivoire’s president Alassane Ouattara reiterated that the Moroccan initiative to grant large autonomy to the Moroccan Sahara is “an appropriate solution to definitively settle the conflict,” reads the communiqué that was signed in the presence of the media by Moroccan minister of foreign affairs and cooperation, Saad Dine El Otmani, and Cote d’Ivoire’s state minister and foreign minister, Charles Koffi Diby.
The official communiqué with Senegal stated: “His Excellency President Macky Sall has, on the same occasion, reaffirmed the extreme importance that he grants to Morocco within the African union large family of and pledged to endeavor to this end.”
HM King Mohammed VI started on Tuesday afternoon, an official visit to the Republic of Côte d’Ivoire, coming from Senegal, first leg of an African tour that will also take the Sovereign to Gabon.
The dispute over the Moroccan-controlled Sahara territory has been the subject of long-running negotiations under the auspices of the UN. Morocco’s initiative for autonomy under Moroccan sovereignty for the territory has broad international support, including from three US Administrations — Bush, Clinton, and Obama — as well as bipartisan majorities in both houses of the US Congress.