Louis Michel, Former State Minister, and Jacques Brotchi, honorary Président of the Belgium Senate issued the following joint communiqué today.

“In politics, “momentum” is decisive. It makes us understand the need to go along with history. This is why we ask ourselves the question of the future of Western Sahara tossed around over the years, conflicts, diplomatic agreements between Algeria, Spain, Mauritania and Morocco, to the detriment of the local population, entitled to claim a life of dignity, peace and promising future.”

“We believe that the process of this dispute needs a new lease of life in order to put an end to destabilizing actions in the particularly strategic and dangerous Sahel-Saharan region. The future of Europe depends on stability in Africa and more particularly in this region, seen by many as the border of southern Europe. The Biden administration, well aware of the stakes, does not appear to want to question the Moroccan character of the Sahara.”

“Diplomatic efforts, however laudable they may be, do not make it possible to unblock this frozen conflict between the Kingdom of Morocco and the Sahrawi separatists, supported by Algeria.”

“The holding of a self-determination referendum by the UN seems abandoned and is no longer addressed in UN texts. The proclamation of the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic by the Polisario Front in 1976, supported by a declining Algeria, did not have the hoped-for response. In other words, support for separatists whether in Europe, the Arab world or Africa is weakening. This assertion was largely confirmed during the Ministerial Conference in Support of the Autonomy Initiative under the Sovereignty of Morocco which was held on January 15 under the auspices of the Kingdom of the Shereefian and the United States. On this occasion, the participants pledged “to plead for a solution based solely on the Moroccan Autonomy Initiative”.”

“This makes us say that we are moving slowly but surely towards the recognition of the sovereignty of Morocco over Western Sahara, and this for geographic, political and geostrategic reasons.”

“It is high time for the European Union, as a global actor, to position itself on the world stage by promoting the resolution of the conflict because if Africa is primarily concerned, Europe and the Middle East follow suit. We know that “security in Africa is a condition of European security”. The Sahel and the Maghreb are vital regions for the sustainability and security of our continent.”

“Morocco, a privileged partner of the EU, a dynamic and forward-looking country, could be a key regional actor in creating the conditions for a realistic, secure, lasting and effective political solution for Western Sahara. Since returning to the AU, Moroccan diplomacy has been particularly active, welcoming a number of African ministers on official visits. Its influence on the continent can be measured by the number of consulates open (20 UN member states currently) since 2019 in the cities of Dakhla and Laäyoune.”