Gabon President approves Western Sahara’s autonomy under Morocco

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President Omar Bongo Ondimba of Gabon has said that Resolution 1813 recently approved by the UN Security Council offers the best opportunity to settle the Western Sahara conflict.

”This resolution is the best one ever approved by the UN Security Council” towards settling the Western Sahara issue,” most Moroccan newspapers quoted the Gabonese leader as saying on Friday.

In the unanimously-approved resolution, the UN Security Council urges the warring parties and regional states to “fully cooperate with the UN” as well as “all parties” to ensure a peaceful and lasting settlement of the Western Sahara crisis.

It also called on the stakeholders in the long-drawn crisis – the Polisario Front and its allies Algeria and Morocco – to show a spirit of compromise.

Bongo also reiterated his country’s “strong” and “constant” support to the proposal for an autonomous Western Sahara as a solution to the conflict, while hailing the fact that “most African countries were supporting Morocco on this issue”.

Last April, Morocco had submitted to the UN a draft autonomy for Western Sahara under its sovereignty, which provides for an autonomous parliament and government.

Under the plan, issues concerning foreign affairs, defence, currency, military police or customs services will remain with Rabat, while the autonomous power will handle education and other issues.

The Polisario front, an Algeria-backed separatist movement, has rejected the offer and is claiming the “right for self-determination of the Sahrawi people”.

Western Sahara, a former Spanish colony, has been under Moroccan control since 1975. Panapress .

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