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Morocco calls on Europe to support autonomy plan in Sahara region

Moroccan Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita in Rabat, Morocco on March 08, 2022. [Jalal Morchidi - Anadolu Agency]
Moroccan Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita in Rabat, Morocco on 8 March 2022 [Jalal Morchidi/Anadolu Agency]

Moroccan Minister of Foreign Affairs, African Cooperation and Moroccans Abroad, Nasser Bourita, has called on European countries to support his country's autonomy initiative to solve the conflict in the Sahara region, Anadolu News Agency reported.

"It is time for Europe to leave its comfort zone in connection with this conflict, because support for a process to find a solution to a dispute is hardly support for its resolution," said Bourita at a joint press conference with US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, at the end of their talks in Rabat, adding that "it is easy to say that we support this process when it could last for decades".

Bourita explained that the autonomy initiative is supported by the United States, France, Arab and African countries and, most recently, Spain and Germany.

Rabat proposes expanded autonomy in the Sahara region under its sovereignty, while the Polisario calls for a referendum for self-determination, a proposal supported by Algeria, which hosts refugees from the region.

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On Monday evening, Blinken arrived in Morocco on a two-day visit to hold talks, as part of a regional tour that also includes Palestine, Israel and Algeria.

Speaking at the press conference, Blinken said Washington considers the autonomy plan to be serious, credible and realistic, and could meet the aspirations of the region's people.

On 10 December, 2020, Morocco and Israel resumed diplomatic relations between them, after suspending them in 2000.

On the same day, Washington recognised Morocco's sovereignty over the Sahara region, and the opening of an American consulate in the city of Dakhla in the region.

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