The Comoros inaugurated on Wednesday a consulate general in Laayoune, in Western Sahara, the first foreign diplomatic representation to open in the part controlled by Morocco of this former Spanish colony, we learned from an official source.
For the kingdom, this inauguration is « the supreme expression of the moroccanity of the Sahara, » said a Moroccan diplomatic source to the AFP.
The Gambia also plans to open a consulate in Dakhla, a major fishing port in Western Sahara on the Atlantic, according to the official Moroccan agency MAP.
The opening “will be done as soon as possible,” said Gambian Foreign Minister Mamadou Tangara, quoted by the MAP on the sidelines of a recent Organization for Islamic Cooperation (OIC) conference in Rabat.
The question of the status of Western Sahara, still considered as a « non-autonomous territory » by the United Nations in the absence of a final settlement, has for decades opposed Morocco and the separatists of the Polisario Front.
This vast desert area located in the north of Mauritania is largely controlled by Morocco, which wants « autonomy under control » for the area which it considers to be an integral part of its territory.
Discussions stalled for decades,
The Polisario Front, supported by Algeria, demands a referendum on self-determination. Discussions for a political settlement have stalled for decades, despite a recent attempt to revive the UN.
After having twice brought together Morocco, the Polisario Front, Algeria and Mauritania at the same table, the UN special representative Horst Köhler, 76, left his post last May for « health reasons » . Since then, no successor has been named.
Determined to “protect its supreme interests”, Morocco is preparing to adopt two laws establishing its legal jurisdiction over the maritime area covering the territorial waters “from Tangier to Lagouira”, a coastal village in the far south of Western Sahara, according to the MAP.
According to Polisario supporters, « 92% of Moroccan fishing is done in Sahrawi waters » which are « looted ».