Youssef Amrani, the ambassador of Morocco to South Africa, has vehemently denied the false claims made about the Moroccan Sahara issue recently by Alvin Botes, the country’s deputy minister of foreign affairs, in an opinion piece that was written specifically about the Moroccan Sahara issue and appeared in the party magazine “ANC Today.”
The Moroccan diplomat dissects South African discourse on the Moroccan Sahara issue and corrects misconceptions, baseless claims, and intellectual deficiencies of an ideologically skewed and limited perspective in his reaction to these insulting, unsubstantiated, and inappropriate accusations.
Additionally, this unquestioning allegiance to Algerian theses raises serious concerns about its utility and purpose, betraying the ambition, vision, and ideal of forging a powerful and united Africa. In reality, he recalled Morocco’s historical support for the fight against colonialism and apartheid, which played a crucial role in the formation of the liberation movement in South Africa.
According to the late Nelson Mandela, denying this historical fact is an insult to the sacrifices made by the Moroccan people in their fight against colonialism and ignores their unwavering support and solidarity as well as their voluntary support for the brethren African peoples in pursuing the same objective.
Amrani questioned how South Africa, which had during its time in the Security Council in 2007 voted in favor of the Resolution on the Moroccan Sahara issue enshrining the preeminence of the “autonomy initiative” and the political process, can still promote outdated theses and abandoned for more than 20 years while pointing out the contradictions in its position. A bygone idea from a bygone period that has been obviously abandoned and buried by the United Nations and the international community is only kept alive by continuing, without any sense of coherence or reason, to view the referendum as the solution to the Moroccan Sahara issue.
Returning to these unjustified and unfounded semantics on the subject of human rights, the ambassador adamantly stated that Morocco has nothing to hide and has no complexes, taboos, or lessons to learn. Morocco also has nothing to hide. In fact, Morocco, a country with a thousand-year history and a DNA infused with concepts of tolerance, openness, and peace, has permanently inscribed the universality of human rights in the Kingdom’s Constitution. It is clear that the people of the Southern Provinces are fully committed to the process of establishing democracy in the Kingdom by participating in such prodigious numbers in the general and municipal elections scheduled for September 2021.
The ambassador expressed sorrow in his letter that the piece supported the inaccurate claims made about the alleged “activist” Sultana Khaya and even veered off topic to merely spread “polisario” misinformation. Amrani noted in this regard that various officials and UN bodies had purposefully distanced themselves from her deceptions and nefarious claims when her intents, lies, and dishonest tactics had been revealed.
The Moroccan envoy also rejected the claims that “Morocco is plundering the resources of the Sahara region” with numbers. He highlighted that Morocco has made socioeconomic growth and infrastructure building among its top goals ever since it gained its independence. The adoption of the Development Model for the Southern Provinces, created with complete local engagement in all areas of its planning and execution, eight years ago, has strengthened this human and inclusive development.
The results of this vision are currently 80% of the allocated budget, or more than 7.5 billion dollars, realized, he said. The main socio-economic indicators also show that the Southern Provinces are performing better than the rest of the Kingdom, particularly in terms of GDP per capita, which is 50% higher than the national average, or in terms of poverty rate, which is three times lower than the national average.
Ambassador Amrani questioned the deputy minister about Pretoria’s blindness and shameful silence on the terrible humanitarian situation in the Tindouf camps, in Algeria, denouncing the politicization of the human rights issue. Why is Tindouf the only “refugee” camp in the world where the UNHCR is prohibited from carrying out its duties? How is it acceptable that Algeria has given an armed separatist organization the responsibility of protecting human rights on its own territory?
In complete violation of the international agreements and treaties Algeria has signed, this de facto transfer of authority from Algeria to the “polisario” on its soil has left the residents of the camps in a precarious, abandoned, and insecure situation and denied them access to the institutions of judicial recourse. He stated that a state cannot delegate its authority and consequently its duty to an armed militia operating on its soil.
The envoy said that the Sahara issue is more than just a topic on the Security Council’s agenda for the Moroccan people. According to him, it is a matter that is closely related to the sovereignty of the country of Morocco.
In addition to being acknowledged as credible, serious, and realistic by the UN Security Council and the major countries, the Moroccan Autonomy Plan also serves as the catalyst for the UN-led political process that we are all working to promote, he continued. The Autonomy Plan is indisputable evidence of Morocco’s willingness to consider a practical and constructive solution while maintaining the Kingdom’s territorial integrity in the current complicated geopolitical environment. It is evidence—if any were required—of the Kingdom’s real dedication to long-term tranquility, uniformity, integration, and prosperity in the area and across the continent.
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