Morocco’s King Mohammed VI has ruled out any peace deal that allows for the independence of the Western Sahara as the United Nations renews efforts to resolve the decades-old dispute.
The king said Morocco was committed to contributing to the “new momentum” desired by the United Nations and to cooperating with the new envoy.But he said it would categorically reject “any overreach, any attempt to undermine the legitimate rights of Morocco”.
The king said Morocco would press ahead with its own plans for the development of the Western Sahara, regardless of the progress of the new peace push.“We are not going to sit idly by waiting for the solution to be found,” he said.
Morocco controls all of the territory’s main towns. The Polisario controls parts of the desert interior.
A UN peacekeeping force has also been deployed in the former Spanish colony since 1991 with a mandate to organise a referendum on its independence or integration with Morocco.Morocco agreed to the vote in a 1988 agreement with the pro-independence Polisario Front that ended 13 years of conflict but has since blocked it being held, saying it will accept only autonomy for the territory.