Thirty-five states renew support for Rabat's sovereignty over Western Sahara
Thirty-five states reiterated support for Morocco's sovereignty over Western Sahara at the 51st session of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in Geneva.
On Tuesday, The UAE's spokesperson at the UN council renewed, on behalf of 35 countries, support for "Morocco's full sovereignty over its southern regions."
The Support Group for Morocco, composed mainly of Gulf and African states, has praised Morocco's efforts in solving the dispute applauding Rabat's autonomy plan for the territory as "the most credible solution."
In 2006, Morocco presented its autonomy plan regarding the territory, which is supposed to allow Sahrawis to run their affairs "democratically" through legislative, executive, and judicial bodies, while Rabat retains control over the defence and foreign relations.
For its part, the UN has backed the plan, yet the Algeria-backed Polisario Front rejected Rabat's proposal and continues to call for an independent state for Sahrawis.
⛔️ كلمة دولة الإمارات العربية المتحدة الشقيقة خلال أشغال الدورة العادية الحادية و الخمسين لمجلس حقوق الانسان التابع للأمم المتحدة في جنيف ،باسمها و نيابة عن 35 من الدول الداعمة لسيادة المغرب على صحرائه pic.twitter.com/uMklAHGzQO— Mohamed Ouamoussi محمد واموسي (@ouamoussi) September 13, 2022
The pro-Morocco states have also defended the opening of consulates general in the disputed cities of Laayoune and Dakhla, saying that the move would strengthen "economic and investment cooperation for the benefit of the locals."
The Trump administration has also promised Rabat to open an embassy in Western Sahara after the US recognition of Morocco's sovereignty over the territory.
However, the Biden administration annulled the embassy plan amid international criticism.
Former US Secretary of State James Baker, who served as UN envoy to Western Sahara, called the recognition "an astounding retreat from the principles of international law and diplomacy."
In the last two years, Morocco has enjoyed growing African and Arab support for its autonomy plan, as the Moroccan monarch stressed that diplomatic positions on Western Sahara are the only measure of friendship with Rabat.
Lately, Rabat has been seeking more Western support to legitimise its control over the territory.
Despite the diplomatic pressure, Germany and Spain abided only in supporting Morocco's "autonomy plan" for the territory while also asserting their support for the Sahraoui people.
The two European countries sided with Rabat after a long diplomatic disaccord.
Situated on the northwest coast of Africa, Western Sahara is home to phosphate reserves and rich fishing grounds and untapped oil deposits off its coast.
Founded in 1973, The Polisario Front, the Saharawis' self-proclaimed representative, fought a 15-year-long guerrilla against Morocco.
In 1991, the UN announced a ceasefire in the province and sent its peacekeeping forces to Laayoune, the biggest city in the disputed territory, to monitor a referendum on the territory's status.
The vote was set for 1992 but was aborted by Morocco who refused to accept any vote that allowed for the independence of the territory, saying that only "autonomy" was on the table.
Since then, numerous UN-sponsored talks have failed to make a breakthrough, each side further entrenched in their positions.