MAP - Monday, October 14th 2019

Gambia Reaffirms 'Strong Support" for Moroccan Autonomy Initiative as Viable Solution to Sahara Issue

New York (United Nations) - Gambia has reaffirmed, before the United Nations Fourth Committee, its "strong support" for the Moroccan autonomy initiative as a viable solution to the regional dispute over the Moroccan Sahara. "Given the ongoing efforts for a lasting solution to the Sahara issue, Gambia reaffirms its strong support for the Moroccan autonomy initiative, which, according to our firm conviction, represents a viable and compromise solution for the settlement of this regional dispute," Gambia's representative pointed out before the UN Committee.

"At this critical time when our Sahel region faces several threats and challenges, we are optimistic that such an initiative could contribute to security and stability in the Sahel region," the Gambian diplomat added. The Security Council Resolution No 2468 of April 2019, as it was the case for previous resolutions, commends Morocco's serious and credible efforts to move ahead with the political process, he said.

"We are encouraged by the achievements of the Regional Commissions of the National Human Rights Council (CNDH) in Laayoune and Dakhla, and we welcome the efforts of the Kingdom of Morocco in its cooperation with the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights as well as with the different special mechanisms in this area," he added. The representative of Gambia also applauded the social and economic development efforts and projects initiated by Morocco in the Sahara region, through the launch in 2015 of the Southern Provinces Development Program with a budget of 8 million dollars, noting that this initiative reflects the Kingdom's willingness "to invest for the long term in peace and prosperity in the region".

"This development program will undoubtedly boost economic growth and improve the living conditions for the populations of the region," he said.