The United Nations Secretary-General updates the Security Council on diplomatic and economic developments in Moroccan Sahara
Mr. António Guterres, the UN Secretary-General, has submitted an advance version of his annual report on Moroccan Sahara to the Security Council, which covers the period from the beginning September 2020 to 31 August 2021.
The current report is being submitted in the light of the Moroccan Sahara case in October and the approval of extending the MINURSO’s mandate, which Mr. Guterres advocated for a one-year extension.
The report emphasizes the Kingdom’s diplomatic successes in Moroccan Sahara throughout the previous year.
In this context, the UN Secretary-General praised the historic establishment of consulates general in the cities of Laayoune and Dakhla by 16 countries.
Bahrain, Burkina Faso, Eswatini, Equatorial Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Haiti, Jordan, Libya, Malawi, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Suriname, the United Arab Emirates, and Zambia have all stated their intention to open or establish consulates general in the Sahara.
Since December 2019, these diplomatic representations have been added to the 10 African, Arab, Caribbean, and other States consulates in Laayoune, bringing the overall number of consulates to 26. This indicates the Moroccan Sahara’s international and diplomatic recognition.
The United Nations Secretary-General also mentioned the United States’ historic declaration on June 10, 2020, recognizing the Kingdom of Morocco’s full and complete sovereignty over its desert.
In fact, Mr. Guterres said “The United States has acknowledged Moroccan sovereignty over the entire territory of Western Sahara and reaffirmed its support for the Moroccan proposal for serious, genuine, and practical self-government as the only basis for a reasonable and enduring solution to this conflict,”.
He also mentioned that the US had constructed a virtual embassy in the Sahara in 2020.
Mr. Guterres also emphasized on Moroccan Sahara’s economic development and infrastructure, as well as Morocco’s continuous investments in the southern provinces.
Indeed, the United Nations Secretary-General stated that “on 30 April, Moroccan authorities declared the winner of the request for offers for the development of the Atlantic Port of Dakhla and that work on this project is underway.”
With a budget of 12.4 billion dirhams, the new deep-water port is among the most expensive ever built in Morocco. The completion of this project will allow the southern regions to experience a surge in economic activity.
Mr. Guterres also mentioned the “building of an automobile route connecting Tiznit to Dakhla,” which is one of the major projects that numerous Arab countries’ missions learned about during their June field visit.
On the 24th and 26th of June 2021, “diplomatic delegations from Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and Yemen” visited the cities of Dakhla and Laayoune to “explore investment opportunities in the Sahara,” according to the Secretary-General’s report.
This is the fourth year in a row that the United Nations Secretary-General has mentioned Moroccan investments in the Sahara.
In his reports from 2016, 2018, 2019, and 2020, the UN Secretary-General dedicated numerous lines to Morocco’s social and economic progress and investments in the Sahara, of which “the local community would be the principal beneficiaries.”