by Ayele Addis Ambelu

Every year on November 6, Moroccans celebrate a historical event that transcends time and generations and bears a historical grandeur and a sense of destiny and belonging.

This event, which remains vivid in the memory of all since 1975, is the Green March, a genius idea of the late King Hassan II who had thought out and planned every detail of the March. It was the unprecedented march of 350,000 Moroccans who walked hundreds of Kilometers to peacefully bring back the land of the Sahara to the fold of the homeland,

The Green March lessons are lessons of patriotism and mobilization of an entire nation behind His Majesty the King in a proactive and pacifist approach, driven by the national interest.

The green March was over but the enthusiasm it triggered did not fade away. Its spirit still continues and renews itself through the action taken to consolidate the Moroccan character of the Sahara on the international scene.

If the Green March, as previously mentioned, brought back the land of the Sahara to the fold of the homeland, its spirit remains the driving force of the development process at the core of which are the southern provinces, in particular within the framework of their new development model.

It is within this context that King Mohammed VI of Morocco delivered a speech on Saturday November 7, 2020, commemorating the 45th Anniversary of the Green March.

In his speech, the King recalled that the Green March was a unique example of mobilization, discipline and the pursuit of what is just, which enabled Morocco to recover its southern provinces, proving to the world Moroccans’ ability to rise to challenges and make history.

The Moroccan Sovereign added that this peaceful march was not simply a watershed in the completion of Morocco’s territorial integrity but an ongoing process whereby the Moroccanness of the Sahara was confirmed in the international arena, making its celebration a driver of economic growth at the regional and continental levels.

The King has also expressed his satisfaction regarding the ‘‘tangible developments’’ of the Sahara issue on the international scene. At the United Nations level, he was delighted that ‘‘the outdated and unrealistic approaches and theses were definitively destroyed when the last Security Council resolutions were adopted’’.

‘‘These recent resolutions have also confirmed the effective participation of the real parties concerned by this regional conflict and they have confirmed the irreversibility of the political, realistic and consensual solution», the Monarch said.

It is worth mentioning that Morocco, Algeria, Mauritania and the Polisario attended the two Geneva round-table meetings, held in December 2018 and March 2019. A principle that the last resolution (2548) of the Security Council enshrined.

‘‘This orientation is in keeping with the spirit of the Moroccan Autonomy Initiative, supported by the Security Council and the great powers as the only logical option to settle this conflict’’, the Sovereign added.

King Mohammed VI said the Kingdom is also recording victories at the African Union level. ‘‘Thanks to the return of Morocco to its African family, the Organization has successfully closed the chapter of the incessant maneuvers of which it was a victim for years. Since then, the African Union has adopted a constructive approach based on full support for the efforts deployed, under an exclusive mandate by the United Nations, by its Secretary General and the Security Council’’, he underlined.

The King also recalled some of Morocco’s recent diplomatic gains, namely the inauguration of diplomatic representations of 15 AU countries, which constitute one more asset in Morocco’s hands to better defend its position on this issue. ‘‘This orientation was reinforced by the great powers which, in this matter, adopted constructive positions, in particular the conclusion of strategic and economic partnerships including, without exception or reservation, the Southern Provinces of the Kingdom as an integral part of the Moroccan territory’’, King Mohammed VI said. The European Union and the United Kingdom are, moreover, the perfect example.

Furthermore, the King recalled that ‘‘the vast majority of members of the international community refuse to align themselves with the theses of the other parties. In fact, 163 countries, representing 85% of United Nations member states, do not recognize the dummy entity’’.

The Sovereign did not ignore the blockade of the Guerguerate border crossing and the Polisario’s plan to establish an administrative and military base in the areas east of the security wall. Against this background, he stressed that Morocco would not be affected, in any way, by the useless provocations and desperate schemes of the other parties.

He also categorically rejected the unacceptable practices designed to disrupt the normal flow of traffic between Morocco and Mauritania, change the legal and historical status of the territory east of the berm, or illegally exploit the region’s resources.

While favoring ‘‘common sense and wisdom’’ in the face of these provocations, he stressed that ‘‘Morocco, true to itself, will not depart from the common sense and wisdom it is accustomed to’’.

The Moroccan King has also underlined his strong commitment to make the Sahara an engine of development at the regional and continental levels. In this respect, he stated that the time has come to exploit the region’s enormous maritime potential pointing out that Morocco has this year completed the demarcation of its maritime boundaries and incorporated them into its legislation, in compliance with international law.

He also noted that the delineation of the maritime areas falling under the Kingdom’s sovereignty would support the plan designed to promote the current vibrant economic and social policy in the region, which boasts significant resources and capabilities that can make it act as a bridge between Morocco and its African roots.

The Royal Speech was thus a message of clarity, serenity and friendship concerning maritime spaces. The Sovereign underlined that Morocco, which rejects unilateral acts and fait accompli, also refuses to impose them on its Spanish neighbor.

In its efforts to securing its rights over its maritime zones, Morocco adopts a legalistic approach in accordance with the principles of international law, in a spirit of partnership, dialogue and good neighborliness with Spain, described by the Sovereign as a “friendly country”.