H.E. Mr. Abbas El Fassi, Prime Minister
26 September 2008
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ABBAS EL FASSI, Prime Minister of Morocco, said that, in spite of the efforts deployed at United Nations international conferences, official development assistance had significantly decreased over the last few years. In fact, the assistance provided by donor countries did not meet the expectations of developing countries, despite their commitment to increase their global annual assistance to up to $50 billion by 2010. Therefore, notwithstanding the progress achieved, several African countries remained in the least developed country category. That called for more commitment from the United Nations.
Morocco was concerned by delays in the development of many African countries, which was partly due to the complexity of the current international situation marked by economic and financial crises, which had had an impact on food security and energy needs. To improve that situation, Morocco urged the United Nations to undertake all necessary measures to stabilize financial system markets, and open markets to agricultural products from the south, taking into consideration the situation of least developed countries.
Turning to the Middle East, he said that Morocco encouraged all initiatives aiming to bring peace to the region, with respect to international legality and the agreements previously reached, namely the Road Map and the Arab Peace Initiative. The latter represented a realistic solution reflecting the commitment of Arab countries to reach a fair, global and lasting solution, which, once Israel retreated from the Arab territories, would allow the Palestinian population to establish an independent State.
Continuing, he said that Morocco had placed the project of an Arab Maghreb Union at the top of its priorities. It was deeply committed to overcoming all obstacles, and moving forward with the regional integration in the Union. For that reason, it had proposed an initiative for negotiating an autonomy statute for the Saharan region, in the aim to put an end to the artificial conflict, and overcome the stalemate of the issue at the United Nations level. The initiative, which had been described by the Security Council as “serious and credible”, was the result of wide international consultations and the outcome of extensive national negotiations with the population of the Sahara region.
As a result, the Security Council had successfully adopted three resolutions on the matter, which called upon the parties to enter into true negotiations, taking into consideration the latest developments, particularly the Moroccan initiative. Morocco remained committed to continuing those negotiations, in order to find a solution to that regional conflict that was respectful of its national sovereignty, territorial integrity and where the autonomy applied to the region benefited its population.