Thursday, October 18, 2018  
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African and European experts debated at the UN headquarters in Geneva the Moroccan autonomy plan in the Sahara in light of typical foreign experiences in the field, in the presence of diplomats and representatives of NGOs from various backgrounds .

Opening this panel organized by the Permanent Mission of Morocco to the UN, the Chargé d'affaires of the Kingdom Hassan Boukili pointed out that in several situations around the world, autonomy has resolved similar disputes by reconciling respect for sovereignty, territorial integrity and autonomous management of local affairs in a spirit of national solidarity.

The Moroccan proposal, he said, is part of a democratic and modern society project, based on the rule of law, individual and collective freedoms, and economic and social development, while respecting local specificities .

The speakers exchanged views on autonomy as a form of self-determination, saying that the Moroccan initiative has become by the force of circumstances the most credible and realistic option after the referendum option has been abandoned as inapplicable on the ground.

Charles Amegan, professor of international relations at the University of Paris, emphasized the process of developing the Moroccan Initiative by saying that it was the synthesis of a multitude of contributions resulting from a participatory and inclusive consultation process at three levels: local, national, and international.

He also noted that the security situation in the Sahelo-Saharan region is seriously threatened by the emergence of new connections between armed elements of polisario, Al-Qaeda terrorists in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) and militias of the extremist group Daech, implanted in Libya.

Eric Dejila, an expert at the Institute for International Studies (Switzerland), argues for fair and equitable solutions to territorial autonomy, which have "the advantage of removing a big thorn from the foot of the international community that wants to eradicate the scourge of terrorism and the mafia networks in this region. "

In this respect, he has estimated that the peaceful resolution of the dispute over the Sahara will promote the revival of the construction of a democratic, stable and solidary Maghreb. The economic integration of this geostrategic group is capable of establishing itself as a negotiating force and as an interlocutor respected by its various economic partners in the world, he pointed out.

Simone Ovart, chairwoman of the Status of Women Committee, a Geneva-based NGO, pointed out that the autonomy project in the Sahara is in line with international standards in this field.

She also highlighted flagship models of autonomy in the world, particularly in the Italian region of Sicily, with local competent institutions, including a legislative assembly.

On the same register, Mrs Ovart mentioned the Italo-Austrian agreement for the protection of the German-speaking and Italian-speaking minorities. Such an approach has favored the protection of the cultural and economic rights of minorities, which enjoy ample rights to manage local resources.

-News on Western Sahara issue/ Corcas-



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