Arab Lawyers Union supports Morocco’s autonomy plan

Arab Lawyers Union considers Moroccan intervention within its territory, against Polisario militiamen “legal and sovereign.”

RABAT - The Arab Lawyers Union (ULA) reaffirmed Saturday its support for the proposed autonomy plan under Moroccan sovereignty in order to resolve the Western Sahara conflict, in another blow to the Algeria-backed Polisario Front.

In a statement issued at the end of the meeting of its permanent bureau, held in Damascus, the ULA expressed its “support for the efforts led by Morocco aimed at reaching a peaceful and comprehensive solution to the conflict around the Moroccan Sahara, through the granting of broad autonomy to the southern provinces within the framework of the Kingdom’s territorial unity.''

The Union said it considered the Moroccan intervention within its territory, against the Polisario militiamen “legal and sovereign.”

The royal Moroccan armed forces on November 14 restored order at the Guerguerat border crossing point between Morocco and Mauritania, securing the flow of goods and people three weeks after the Polisario separatists had blocked traffic in the UN-controlled buffer zone.

“This operation led by Morocco in its Sahara is supported by the international community for the restoration of order and the fight against acts of vandalism and premeditated savagery by the separatists," it said.

The Cairo-based ULA rejected any foreign interference in this decades-long issue, emphasizing the need for the opening of the Moroccan-Algerian borders, while respecting the good neighbourliness.

Last month the UN Security Council passed resolution 2548 which called for a "realistic, practicable and enduring solution ... based on compromise."

That language was widely seen as calling into doubt any referendum on the territory's future - a goal long sought by the Polisario and backed by the United Nations in the 1991 ceasefire.

Western Sahara, though a sparsely populated desert region, has rich fishing waters, phosphate deposits and Morocco's only working land route into the rest of Africa as its border with Algeria is closed.

Rabat considers Western Sahara an integral part of Morocco and proposes autonomy for the resource-rich territory.

Several African countries and the United Arab Emirates opened their consulates in the North African Kingdom’s southern provinces as a way of backing Morocco’s territorial integrity and autonomy plan.

The ULA also stressed the need to 'recover the Spanish enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla as well as the Jaafarin Islands, calling for an ''urgent solution'' to put an end to the Spanish occupation.