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Hollande statement reflects long history of support by US and France on Sahara issue WASHINGTON,
April 5, 2013/PRNewswire-USNewswire/ (MACP) --Addressing Morocco's Parliament Thursday on his first official state visit to the North African nation, French President Francois Hollande praised
Morocco as a leader and partner for peace and reform in the region, and hailed
Morocco's autonomy initiative to resolve the
Western Sahara conflict as "serious and credible."
"The plan presented by
Morocco in 2007 is a serious and credible basis for a negotiated solution" of the long-running
Western Sahara dispute,
said President Hollande. "The current stand-off is detrimental to everyone,"
he said, adding that the revolt by al-Qaeda-linked extremists in northern
Mali "makes it more urgent to put an end to this situation."
praised the new Constitution introduced in
Morocco by King
Mohammed VI in 2011. "Every day, your country takes decisive steps towards democracy," he said. Hollande congratulated the King on the agenda of reforms he began more than a decade ago, and thanked him for
Morocco's support of
France's military intervention in
The French President's position on the decades-old
Western Sahara dispute reinforces that of previous French administrations, and the US's own long-standing policy on the issue. Last year, French Foreign Minister Alain
Morocco's autonomy initiative for
Western Sahara "the only realistic proposal" for resolving the 36-year-old stalemate over the territory.
On a trip to
North Africa last year, then-Secretary of State
Hillary Rodham Clinton said
Morocco's autonomy initiative was "serious, realistic, and credible" and reaffirmed that US policy "has remained constant." The past three US Administrations have backed the
US policy supporting a solution based on autonomy under Moroccan sovereignty in Western Sahara—as well as bipartisan majorities in both
At a press briefing in
Rabat last year,
Secretary Clinton added that
Morocco's autonomy initiative "could satisfy the aspirations of the people in the
Western Sahara to run their own affairs in peace and dignity," and the US "continues to support efforts to find a peaceful, sustainable, mutually agreed upon solution."
"I am heartened that President Hollande has reiterated the strong support of
Morocco's autonomy initiative for the
Western Sahara," said
Edward M. Gabriel, former US Ambassador to
Morocco. "This is an issue that affects prospects for stability and security in the region and beyond."
Later this month, the renewal of the UN's peacekeeping mission in
Western Sahara (MINURSO) comes before the UN Security Council, of which
Morocco is a non-permanent member. The Security Council, which has also called
Morocco's autonomy proposal "serious and credible," is expected to urge the parties to reach "a just, lasting, and mutually acceptable political solution," as called for in previous resolutions. The only realistic path according to many in the international community, including
Peter Van Walsum, former UN Personal Envoy for the territory, is negotiating on the basis of autonomy under Moroccan sovereignty.
For more on
Morocco and the region, visit
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SOURCE Moroccan American Center for Policy