Prime Minister, Roosevelt Skerrit, views Morocco’s plan for autonomy for the Western Sahara as “the only credible and serious basis” to end the long-running dispute in that region.
Speaking in Tangiers on Wednesday at the opening of the 15th edition of the MEDays International Forum, he said Dominica is in full support of the “Moroccan Autonomy Plan.”
“I wish to congratulate His Majesty King Mohammed VI for his leadership and the major diplomatic triumph that Morocco has been achieving with regards to the Sahara issue,” Skerrit said.
Morocco regards the Western Sahara as its own and has been in control of the territory since the mid-1970s when colonial power Spain left that region. However, the Polisario Front founded in 1973, and described by Britannica as a “politico-military organization in Western Sahara”, wants it to be a fully independent state called the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic and has fought a bitter 15-year war with Morocco which ended in a 1991 ceasefire deal.
Morocco has offered limited self-government there — but insists it must keep sovereignty in the region which is rich in phosphates and which has a long Atlantic coast with rich fishing waters. It said the plan is not definitive but rather aimed at pushing negotiations forward to find “a mutually acceptable political solution.”
Although it was rejected by the Polisario, the plan for limited autonomy for the Western Sahara has been gaining international traction and it was a point that Skerrit reiterated. He stated that support around the globe for the plan has been getting “louder and stronger,” adding that he was honored to add his voice to those seeking unity and sovereignty.
The prime minister also thanked Morocco, on behalf of the people of Dominica and the entire Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS), for its support, especially in the fields of agriculture and education.
“We value the strong ties which have developed between our two regions over the years and welcome every opportunity to strengthen relations, collaborate on matters of mutual interest, and increase our cooperation,” he stated.
The MEDays International Forum is attended by over 250 speakers, political and economic decision-makers, and more than 5,000 participants representing nearly 100 countries.