Delegates Also Hold Discussions on Questions of Gibraltar, Tokelau, Western Sahara
Opening the substantive portion of its 2019 session today, the Special Committee on Decolonization took up the questions of Gibraltar, Tokelau and Western Sahara, while also approving draft resolutions relating to the dissemination of information about its work and its dispatching of visiting missions to the world’s 17 remaining Non‑Self‑Governing Territories.
On the question of Western Sahara, numerous delegations and petitioners outlined their positions on the more than 50‑year‑long dispute between Morocco and the Frente Popular de Liberación de Saguía el Hamra y Río de Oro (Frente Polisario).
Algeria’s representative said the inalienable right of the Territory’s people to self-determination has been established and codified by numerous General Assembly resolutions, reinforced by the advisory opinions of the International Court of Justice in 1975, as well as the decision of the European Court of Justice in 2015, 2016 and 2018. Expressing concern about attempts to question Western Sahara’s legal status and the legitimacy of its representative, he said that, as a neighbouring country, Algeria has always contributed — and continues to contribute — to the Secretary-General’s efforts as well as those of the Special Committee to bring the process of decolonizing Western Sahara to its long-overdue conclusion.
Morocco’s representative said the Moroccan Sahara question is not a matter of decolonization, but rather one of territorial integrity and cold war legacy. He went on to question why, if Algeria is not a party to the dispute, that country continues to arm, finance, harbour and advocate for Frente Polisario. After 40 years, Algeria still turns a deaf ear to international calls for a census of the Tindouf refugee camps on its territory, he noted. By contrast, Rabat’s proposal for Moroccan Sahara autonomy has been deemed serious and credible by the Security Council’s adoption of 15 relevant resolutions since 2007, he stressed.
South Africa’s representative, pointing out that Western Sahara remains Africa’s last colony, stated: “Our national experience has taught us the value of international solidarity, which brought down the repressive system of apartheid.” He expressed hope that international legal precedent, such as the judgements by the European Court of Justice and South Africa’s own High Court, in upholding Western Sahara’s sovereignty will deter any further illegal exploitation of the Territory’s resources by foreign entities.
Côte d’Ivoire’s representative highlighted the role of the United Nations as a forum for realistic and pragmatic solutions based on comprise. He commended the efforts of the Secretary-General’s former Personal Envoy in bringing Morocco and Frente Polisario, as well as neighbouring Algeria and Mauritania, together in round-table meetings held in Geneva during 2018 and 2019. He also hailed Morocco’s autonomy initiative as a pragmatic idea for ending the dispute over Western Sahara, joining many other delegates — including representatives of Guinea, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Saint Lucia and Saint Kitts and Nevis.
The Special Committee — formally known as the Special Committee on the Situation with regard to the Implementation of the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples — also examined the questions of Gibraltar and Tokelau.
In other business, the Special Committee approved, without a vote, an annual draft resolution titled “Information from Non‑Self‑Governing Territories transmitted under Article 73 (e) of the Charter of the United Nations”. By that text, the General Assembly would request that administering Powers respect their Charter obligations by transmitting information on economic, social and educational conditions in the Territories to the Secretary‑General, subject to such limitation as security and constitutional considerations might require.
Acting again without a vote, the Special Committee approved a draft resolution titled “Dissemination of information on decolonization”, by which the General Assembly would approve the decolonization‑related activities of the Department of Global Communications and the Department of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs, and request that they continue their efforts to make information on relevant United Nations efforts widely available.
It also approved a draft resolution titled “Question of sending visiting and special missions to Territories”. By that text, the Special Committee would request that its Chair and Bureau develop, on a case‑by‑case basis, a plan for the conduct of visiting missions to the Non‑Self‑Governing Territories.
The Special Committee then approved a visiting mission to Montserrat, a Caribbean Non-Self-Governing Territory administered by the United Kingdom.
Also speaking today were representatives of Indonesia, Spain, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea (speaking also for Fiji), Cuba, Grenada, Dominica, Venezuela, Namibia, Togo, Burkina Faso and Uruguay.
Others delivering statements were officials of the Departments of Global Communications and Political and Peacebuilding Affairs.
Representatives from Gibraltar and Tokelau also participated, as did several petitioners from Western Sahara.
The Special Committee will reconvene at 10 a.m. on Monday, 24 June.
Action on Draft Resolutions
The Special Committee on Decolonization took up the report of the Secretary-General “Dissemination of information on decolonization during the period from April 2018 to March 2019” (document A/AC.109/2019/18).
SEDA PUMPYANSKAYA, Director, Strategic Communications Division, Department of Global Communications, presented that report, saying the Department issued 41 press releases in English and French, covering meetings, statements and hearings relating to the decolonization efforts of the United Nations. In addition, the Media Accreditation and Liaison Unit and the Media Document Centre continued to disseminate relevant information and news to their database of journalists and media aggregators. The Department also deployed a press officer to cover the Pacific and Caribbean Regional Seminars on Decolonization held in Saint George’s, Grenada, in May 2018 and May 2019 respectively.
Furthermore, he continued, the Department, in close cooperation with the Decolonization Unit of the Department of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs, continued to update and maintain the “United Nations and Decolonization” website in the Organization’s six official languages, he said, adding that more than 196,000 users visited the website in 2018. The Department’s multilingual media accounts promoted decolonization-related issues and UN News produced materials and stories on the Week of Solidarity with the Peoples of Non-Self-Governing Territories in May 2018. The relevant information was also disseminated through Visitors Services operations, the Dag Hammarskjöld Library and United Nations information centres, he said.
JOSIANE AMBIEHL, Chief, Decolonization Unit, Department of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs, said in a statement delivered on her behalf that the Unit’s information activities included the annual preparation of working papers on each Non-Self-Governing Territory under the Special Committee’s purview. During the first quarter of 2019, all working papers, as well as the Secretary-General’s reports and the report on Puerto Rico by the Special Committee’s Rapporteur, were posted on the “UN and Decolonization” website, she said. The Unit also worked closely with the Department of Global Communications to update the Organization’s decolonization website, which features regular updates reflecting the Special Committee’s activities. With the website’s revamp now complete, Special Committee members are invited to provide feedback for further improvements, she said.
The representative of Cuba acknowledged the outreach work by the Department of Global Communications, urging it to broaden its work. Welcoming the dissemination of information via both traditional and alternative means, he cautioned that the ongoing reform of the Department should not adversely affect its work on decolonization. Dissemination of relevant information must be more systematic, he said, calling for balanced linguistic treatment, and timely updates of the website.
MOHAMMAD KURNIADI KOBA (Indonesia) said the eradication of colonialism is among the priorities of the United Nations because its work is directly related to the well-being of the Territories. The Special Committee’s work over the next two weeks must be guided by the need to raise awareness that there are still 17 Non-Self-Governing Territories, the need for consultative engagement on each case, and a consensus-based approach.
Acting without a vote, the Special Committee then approved a draft resolution titled “Dissemination of information on decolonization” (document A/AC.109/2019/L.4), by which the General Assembly would approve the decolonization-related activities of the Departments of Global Communications and Political and Peacebuilding Affairs, and request that they continue their efforts to make information on the Organization’s decolonization work widely available.
The Special Committee then took up the annual draft resolution “Information from Non‑Self‑Governing Territories transmitted under Article 73 e of the Charter of the United Nations” (document A/AC.109/2019/L.3). By its terms, the General Assembly would request that the administering Powers concerned respect their Charter obligations by transmitting information to the Secretary‑General on issues related to the economic, social and educational conditions of each Territory, subject to such limitations as security and constitutional considerations might require.
HUMBERTO RIVERO ROSARIO (Cuba) urged the administering Powers to transmit information as a duty under the Charter, noting that such information is necessary for decision-making by the Special Committee. Noting that the administering Powers do not participate in Special Committee meetings and regional seminars, he expressed hope that such behaviour will change.
The Special Committee then approved the draft resolution “Question of sending visiting and special missions to Territories” (document A/AC.109/2019/L.5), by which the Special Committee requested that its Chair and Bureau develop a plan, on a case‑by‑case basis, for conducting visiting missions to the Non‑Self‑Governing Territories. It also called upon the administering Powers to cooperate with the United Nations in that process if they have not yet done so, or to continue to cooperate by facilitating such visits.
The Special Committee then decided to undertake a visiting mission to Montserrat, with the Bureau proposing that the visit take place between 15 and 26 November 2019.
Question of Gibraltar
FABIAN PICARDO, Chief Minister of Gibraltar, said that, as that Territory reluctantly prepares to leave the European Union with the United Kingdom, it has used the opportunity for dialogue with Spain to reach practical arrangements for cooperation. Already, it has entered into a tax treaty — the first treaty with Spain in relation to Gibraltar since the Treaty of Utrecht in 1713 — as well as an agreement on tobacco pricing and on cooperation between law enforcement agencies. Declaring that he will continue to defend Gibraltar’s right to self-determination, he said the recent advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice on the Chagos Archipelago makes it clear that the right of Non-Self-Governing Territories to self-determination is paramount. As stated many times, Gibraltar would welcome an advisory opinion from the same Court, he added, emphasizing: “When we get a fair and objective hearing, we know we will prevail.”
The representative of Spain described the relationship between Gibraltar and the United Kingdom as colonial in nature, emphasizing that there is no alternative to negotiations between Spain and the United Kingdom, along the lines set out by the United Nations, during which the interests of the Territory’s population will be kept in mind. He stressed that no decolonization process can be deemed to have been completed until the General Assembly so decides.
DENIS MATTHEWS, speaking for the Self-Determination for Gibraltar Group, said it is “simply ridiculous” for Spain to want Gibraltar’s sovereignty handed back after more than 300 years. Many well-informed Spaniards accept that their country’s claim has no merit, he said, noting that, in some cases, they have advised successive Governments in Madrid that, if the matter goes before the International Court of Justice, the right of Gibraltarians to determine their own future will prevail. The incongruity of Spain’s position is demonstrated by the tax treaty, he said, noting that, indirectly at the very least, that instrument recognizes the legal existence of Gibraltarian institutions. He went on to point out that Spain used its political leverage within the European Union to ensure that a Brexit document referred to Gibraltar as a colony, without regard for the difficulties that created for Brexit negotiations. “Put bluntly, Spain simply cannot be trusted,” he said, emphasizing that Gibraltarians simply want their wishes respected and that they will never stop defending their right to self‑determination.
Question of Tokelau
KELIHIANO KALOLO, Ulu-o-Tokelau [Titular Head] of Tokelau, said the Territory appreciates the opportunities and blessings it receives from New Zealand, the United Nations and others, adding that they give Tokelau more confidence to consider self-determination in the future. “Our confidence continues to grow in practising and refining a governance model which integrates our culture and [the] Western model,” he said, while emphasizing that Tokelau is increasingly aware that the governance structures chosen by Niue and the Cook Islands might not suit its own situation.
ROSS ARDERN, Administrator of Tokelau, said New Zealand has consistently sought to devolve its administrative powers to that Territory and to support the development of its own governance institutions. A separate court system was established in 1986, public service responsibilities were transferred in 1993 and most administrative powers delegated in 2004, he recalled. By the 2000s, Tokelau had attained a substantial degree of self-governance and was ready to hold a referendum on becoming a self-governing territory in free association with New Zealand. The vote was held in February 2006 but did not obtain the two-thirds majority required for a change of status, as was the case in a second vote held in 2007, he said, adding that Tokelau is turning its mind to future governance models. He emphasized New Zealand’s role in helping Tokelau develop a model it considers fit for purpose.
MAX HUFANEN RAI (Papua New Guinea), speaking also on behalf of Fiji, said it is important and logical that the Special Committee’s 2019 draft resolution on the question of Tokelau reflect major developments of the past 12 months. Those developments include the election of the Ulu-O-Tokelau and the inventory of Tokelau’s greenhouse gas emissions, he noted. Emphasizing that climate change is a defining concern for Tokelau, he said the draft resolution refers to efforts by the administering Power to reduce carbon emissions in accordance with the Paris Agreement, he said. Meanwhile, the Tokelau National Strategic Plan 2016-2020 and the Joint Statement on the Principles of Partnership between Tokelau and New Zealand provide a shared vision of strong governance and better management of public service finances and infrastructure assets, he noted. Cooperation between Tokelau and New Zealand is helping to build capacity, thereby improving the welfare of Tokelau’s people and advancing the realization of the 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development, he said in conclusion.
Question of Western Sahara
Taking up its next agenda item, the Special Committee considered a Secretariat working paper (document A/AC.109/2019/17) as several delegates delivered general statements.
Mr. RIVERO (Cuba) called for renewed effort on Western Sahara so that the Territory’s people can exercise their right to self-determination. Emphasizing the need for dialogue without preconditions, he said the international community must commit to implementing all relevant United Nations resolutions. The people of Western Sahara need international support, he said, adding that they will always have the firm support of the Cuban people.
VICTORIA MANGAY SULIMANI (Sierra Leone) welcomed the Special Committee’s invitation to participants from the Sahara, namely Abba Mhamed, Vice President of the Laayoune Sakia Alhamra region, and Sidi Mohamed Omar of the Frente Popular de Liberación de Saguía el Hamra y Río de Oro (Frente Polisario). Expressing full support for the autonomy initiative advanced by Morocco, he said that his delegation will not support the Special Committee’s visiting mission to Western Sahara because there is an ongoing political process to find a mutually acceptable solution to the impasse over that Territory as well as a United Nations peacekeeping mission on the ground.
Ms. WILLIAMS (Grenada) welcomed the Geneva round table meetings involving Morocco, Frente Polisario, Algeria and Mauritania and commended Morocco’s proposed autonomy initiative as a viable plan to end the dispute over Western Sahara. She also noted that Security Council resolution 2468 (2019) highlights the need for a realistic solution based on compromise.
TIEMOKO MORIKO (Côte d’Ivoire), highlighting the role of the United Nations as a forum for realistic and pragmatic solutions based on comprise, commended the efforts of the former Personal Envoy of the Secretary-General in bringing the parties to the dispute, as well as neighbouring countries, to the Geneva round-table meetings. Taking note of the Personal Envoy’s departure, he said that his delegation awaits the appointment of his successor. He went on to hail Morocco’s initiative as a pragmatic idea to end the dispute.
LOREEN RUTH BANNIS-ROBERTS (Dominica) welcomed the Geneva round-tables and encouraged the participants to seize the momentum. She reaffirmed the seriousness of Morocco’s autonomy initiative, saying it will end the dispute over Western Sahara. It is also time to proceed to the registration of refugees at the Tindouf camp, she added.
SAM TERENCE CONDOR (Saint Kitts and Nevis) welcomed the Geneva round-table discussions of December 2018 and March 2019 involving Algeria, Morocco, Mauritania and Frente Polisario, saying his delegation looks forward to a further gathering that, hopefully, will stimulate a new and positive attitude leading to a framework for regional stability. He added that his delegation is extremely encouraged by Morocco’s promotion and protection of human rights.
MAX HUFANEN RAI (Papua New Guinea) said progress on Western Sahara should be based on practical realities, good faith and negotiated compromise. Expressing support for the ongoing peace process under the Secretary-General’s auspices, he emphasized the need to address the human rights situation in the Tindouf camp and urged the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to register the camp’s population, in accordance with international law and relevant Security Council resolutions.
Ms. JOSEPH (Saint Lucia) reaffirmed the need for a realistic political resolution of the dispute over Western Sahara, stressing also that Morocco’s autonomy initiative should be taken seriously.
JORGE ARTURO REYES HERNÁNDEZ (Venezuela), underlining the prominent role of the United Nations in efforts to eradicate colonialism, called upon media to give greater prominence to decolonization. Noting the renewed impetus around the question of Western Sahara following the round-table meetings, he said that his delegation will support inclusive dialogue on the understanding that a political solution will be based on ongoing cooperation among the member States of the Arab Maghreb Union.
ABBA MHAMED from the Laayoune Sakia El Hamra region of Western Sahara, said he has been the regional Vice President since the last elections in Moroccan Sahara. The region has been undergoing significant socioeconomic changes, he said, adding that such transformation gives the local people a chance to administer their own affairs. The region attracts decent investment in health and education and 600 jobs have been created under the 2016-2021 development programme, he said. Emphasizing that the Sahara population benefits from their own resources, he said that makes him a legitimate representative of Moroccan Sahara.
GHALLA BAHIYA from the Dkha-Oued Eddahab region of Western Sahara, said her participation today represents the proactive nature of that region’s women and youth. She said 700 projects in the region are spurring new momentum for growth, adding that socioeconomic progress is giving the region greater autonomy. Progress is irreversible, she stressed.
SIDI OMAR of the Frente Polisario expressed the wish to “set the record straight” about completely misleading accounts of the Western Sahara question. He went on to emphasize that the United Nations does not recognize Morocco’s sovereignty over Western Sahara, Morocco is not the administering Power and, therefore, that country’s presence in the Territory is occupation. Urging anyone with evidence to the contrary to speak up, he recalled that the Legal Counsel has given a legal opinion to the effect that Western Sahara’s transfer from Spain in 1975 did not affect its status as a Non-Self-Governing Territory. The way forward is simple, he said, underlining that Morocco is an occupying Power, and that there is no place for a colonial Power in the twenty-first century.
NAAMA SGHAYER of the Sahrawi Association of Political Asylum Seekers, said hundreds of people from Western Sahara have been abducted over the past 40 years, and human rights violations resulting from Morocco’s illegal occupation are continuing. He called upon the United Nations to expand the mandate of the United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO) to include human rights and urged the Special Committee to send a fact-finding mission to Western Sahara.
ANDRES EDUARDO RODRIGUEZ MARTINEZ of the International Student Committee said students wonder how it is possible that the situation in Western Sahara has not yet been resolved after so many years. He went on to warn that the next generation will need to consider “specific measures” if there is no effective outcome on Western Sahara.
TOURIA HMYENE of the Association for the Freedom of Women Sequestered in the Tindouf Camps said the camp population are victims of oppression due to measures imposed by Frente Polisario. Many have called into question the responsibility of the parties concerned, including the host country, she said, adding that women have led campaigns to protest against restrictions on the freedom of movement.
KHALID BENDRISS of the Association for the Support of the Moroccan Autonomy Initiative said Morocco’s proposal, presented to the United Nations on 11 April 2007, is a real opportunity for resuming negotiations with a view to achieving a final solution to the dispute. Under the plan, he said, the people of Western Sahara would manage their own affairs, while Morocco’s sovereignty and territorial integrity would remain intact, emphasizing that autonomy is the only viable solution while warning that other options would entail the risk of instability while prolonging the plight of those in the Tindouf camps.
ZOUBIDA SOUAD KRISKA of the Organization for Ending Human Rights Violations in the Tindouf Camps said it is high time the international community recognized the ongoing human rights abuses in the Tindouf camps, which are under the military control of Frente Polisario. Among other horrors, many women are sexually abused and, if pregnant, face torture in maternity detention centres, she said, requesting that the Special Committee ask the Secretary-General to look into the situation in the camps, and that the international community hold Frente Polisario responsible.
JASSER JIMÉNEZ (Nicaragua) expressed support for Frente Polisario, saying his delegation is committed to maintaining that support until the people of Western Sahara can exercise their right to self-determination.
Ms. IMEUR-CHANDURO (Namibia) cautioned that the growing divisions around the Western Sahara question could impede the aspiration of transforming Africa into a prosperous, integrated, peaceful, strong and united continent, an influential global player and partner under the African Union Agenda 2063 and the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Citing the two round-table negotiations between Morocco and the Frente Polisario in December 2018 and March 2019, she welcomed the confidence-building mechanism created by the two parties to the dispute as well as Algeria and Mauritania through their engagement with the former Personal Envoy of the Secretary-General.
FAISAL NASSER M. ALHAKBANI (Saudi Arabia) welcomed the Geneva round-table meetings, commending the four participants and encouraging them to arrive at a solution. He also expressed his delegation’s support for Morocco’s autonomy initative. While welcoming the participation of elected officials from Western Sahara in today’s proceedings, he rejected any moves to undermine Morocco’s sovereignty.
ESSOHANAM PETCHEZI (Togo) said Morocco’s initiative is a necessary constructive step towards breaking the impasse. Expressing support for the ongoing political process, including the Geneva round-table discussions, he said that he hopes the upcoming round-table meeting will also generate positive outcomes.
MOHAMMED BESSEDIK (Algeria) said the Special Committee finds its raison d'être in the implementation of General Assembly resolution 1514 (XV). Failure to abide by the relevant principles would simply qualify as an endorsement of colonialism, he added, recalling that the inalienable right of the people of Western Sahara to self-determination has been established and codified by numerous General Assembly resolutions and reinforced by the 1975 advisory opinions of the International Court of Justice as well as European Court of Justice decisions in 2015, 2016 and 2018. Concerned about attempts to question the Territory’s legal status and the legitimacy of its representative, he said the people of Western Sahara are still denied the opportunity to exercise their right to self-determination. As a neighbouring country, Algeria has always contributed — and continues to contribute — to the Secretary-General’s efforts as well as those of the Special Committee to bring the process of decolonizing Western Sahara to its long-overdue conclusion, he stressed.
FRANÇOIS ABOU SOUMAH (Guinea) welcomed the Geneva round-table meetings while also commending the efforts of the Secretary-General’s former Personal Envoy, who stepped down at the end of May. Noting Morocco’s ambitious plan for the development of Western Sahara’s regions, he welcomed the participation of two representatives from the Territory. Perseverance is the key to negotiations, he stressed.
YEMDAOGO ERIC TIARE (Burkina Faso) reiterated his delegation’s support for the United Nations-led political process and for the draft resolution before the Special Committee. Welcoming the two round-table discussions and hailing the efforts of the former Special Envoy, he said a full resolution of the Western Sahara question would make it possible for States in the region to unify their strengths and address the scourge of terrorism. The compromise solution advanced by Morocco is realistic and meets international norms, he added.
OMAR HILALE (Morocco) said the question of the Moroccan Sahara is not a matter of decolonization, but rather one of territorial integrity and the legacy of the cold war. Summarizing the historical facts, he said it is impossible to understand the Moroccan Sahara question in all its dimensions without casting light on Algeria’s role. If that country is not a party to the dispute, why does it continue to arm, finance, harbour and advocate for Frente Polisario, he asked. After 40 years, Algeria still turns a deaf ear to international calls for a census of the Tindouf camps, he noted, emphasizing that were it not for Algeria’s aggressive stance, there would be no Polisario and no Sahara question. As for Morocco’s autonomy proposal, he said it has been deemed serious and credible by the Security Council through its adoption of 15 resolutions since 2007. He went on to stress that a political process under exclusive United Nations auspices can only take place within the framework of Moroccan sovereignty and territorial integrity.
LUIS HOMERO BERMÚDEZ ÁLVAREZ (Uruguay), underlining the crucial importance of continuing dialogue, encouraged the parties to cooperate with the United Nations with the aim of ensuring respect for human rights, including inside the refugee camps. Expressing appreciation for the humanitarian work carried out by UNHCR, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the World Food Programme (WFP), he encouraged the African Union to contribute to a rapprochement between the two sides. Recalling that MINURSO has a mandate to organize a referendum, he underlined the need for compliance with that mandate, thereby making it possible for the people of Western Sahara to exercise their right to self-determination.
Ms. MAISOON ALDAHR (United Arab Emirates) expressed support for the political process led by the United Nations and welcomed the convening of the two Geneva round-table meetings, saying her delegation looks forward to a third such meeting. She also expressed support for Morocco’s autonomy initiative.
TIYANI RAYMOND SITHOLE (South Africa) said Western Sahara remains Africa’s last colony, listed as a Non-Self-Governing Territory by the United Nations. “Our national experience has taught us the value of international solidarity, which brought down the repressive system of apartheid,” he recalled. Welcoming the judgements by the European Court of Justice and his own country’s High Court, which have upheld Western Sahara’s sovereignty and ownership of its resources, including its territorial waters, he expressed hope that the international legal precedent will deter any further illegal exploitation of the Territory’s resources by foreign entities. Emphasizing the need for uninhibited negotiations between Morocco and the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR), he went on to recall that his country recently hosted the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Solidarity Conference with SADR. He urged both sides to de-escalate tensions and actively participate in the United Nations-led negotiation process.
SALIOU NIANG DIENG (Senegal) highlighted the need for a realistic solution based on compromise. Applauding the two round-table meetings held in Geneva, he welcomed the participation of Algeria and Mauritania as neighbouring countries. He went on to emphasize that his delegation believes Morocco’s autonomy initiative is viable.