Major groundswell of support in the UK for Morocco's proposal for Western Sahara

Dozens of British MPs urge the government to recognise Morocco's autonomy plan for the Saharawi territory
Parlamento de Westminster - AFP/NIKLAS HALLEN
Westminster Parliament - AFP/NIKLAS HALLEN
  1. Morocco's proposal

Hugo Swire, a British Conservative MP in the UK House of Lords, published a letter on the social network X signed by more than 30 British MPs, such as Liam Fox and Kevin Foster, and addressed to the Foreign Secretary, David Cameron, urging "timely recognition of Morocco's Autonomy Plan for Western Sahara" as "the only viable, serious and realistic solution to the conflict in Western Sahara".

The proposal by Hugo Swire and over 30 British MPs is in line with other political demonstrations in the UK urging the British government to support the Moroccan kingdom's proposal for Western Sahara as the most serious, credible and realistic way to resolve the Saharawi dispute. 

The letter indicates that this approach to the Kingdom of Morocco has already been carried out by other countries such as the United States and France recently, which is in line with the good harmony and the trade agreement between Morocco and the United Kingdom, sealed after the British exit from the European Union, which covers Western Sahara and which has been declared legal by the British High Court of Justice. 

In the letter, it is indicated that both Hugo Swire and other policy makers have had the opportunity to travel to Western Sahara to see the situation on the ground and have realised first hand the great potential and the numerous opportunities that exist in the Saharawi territory for both the local population and the UK. 

Puesto de control fronterizo entre Marruecos y Mauritania en Guerguerat, ubicado en el Sáhara Occidental - AFP/FADEL SENNA
Border checkpoint between Morocco and Mauritania at Guerguerat in Western Sahara - AFP/FADEL SENNA

It is also noted that the Moroccan proposal for Western Sahara balances local traditions and democratic aspirations, offering a viable path to a lasting and stable peace and a way forward for the development and evolution of the territory in all sectors.

This new manifestation of British political actors follows recent statements by other authoritative voices calling on the British executive to back Morocco's proposal for Western Sahara. 

Earlier this year, senior British Conservative Party officials urged the Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) to 'change UK policy and recognise Morocco's sovereignty' in order to avoid the British government's 'obstinacy' in refusing to recognise Morocco's proposal. 

Also, the British Conservative MP Daniel Kawczynski called on the British government to recognise Morocco's sovereignty over Western Sahara. "I have asked many questions within our own Parliament about when we will finally recognise that the Moroccan Sahara is part of the Kingdom of Morocco", Kawczynski told the press after recent talks between a delegation of British MPs and the Moroccan Minister of Foreign Affairs, African Cooperation and Moroccan Expatriates, Nasser Bourita.

For his part, the member of the British House of Lords Daniel Hannan also demanded the recognition of Morocco's "full sovereignty" over Western Sahara and the strengthening of trade relations between the two nations, very much in line with the latest letter published on the social network X via Hugo Swire's account.

Nasser Bourita,  ministro de Asuntos Exteriores de Marruecos - AFP/FADEL SENNA
Nasser Bourita, Morocco's Foreign Minister - AFP/FADEL SENNA

Morocco's proposal

The Kingdom of Morocco proposes for Western Sahara a broad autonomy under Moroccan sovereignty in order to develop the territory to the maximum in various aspects such as social, economic, educational, administrative or political, respecting the resolutions of the United Nations (UN) in order to resolve the Saharawi conflict, which has lasted for more than four decades since the departure of Spain as a colonial power in the area. 

The Moroccan proposal enjoys considerable international support from countries such as the United States, Israel, the United Arab Emirates, Germany and even Spain, which consider the Alawite proposal to be the "most serious, credible and realistic" way to put an end to the conflict over Western Sahara. 

Opposed to this formula is the initiative of the rival Polisario Front, which advocates holding a referendum on independence for the Sahrawi population. This is difficult to achieve due to a number of problems, such as the problems of drawing up a census, as various analysts have pointed out, and has less international backing, particularly the support of Algeria, Morocco's great political rival, with which it broke off relations in August 2021 after accusing the Moroccan kingdom of hostile acts and due to broad political differences, such as those related to the Saharawi question. This is despite the fact that Morocco's King Mohammed VI has on many occasions reached out to Algeria to restore relations between the two neighbouring Maghreb countries.