AU: Morocco Reiterates Determination to Promote Inclusive, Open and Secure Digital Future in Africa

Addis Ababa - Morocco reiterated before the extraordinary session of the African Union's Specialized Technical Committee on Communication and Information Communications Technology (STC-CICT), held on June 11-13, its determination to reduce the digital divide and promote an inclusive, open and secure digital future for all in Africa. The Moroccan delegation, which took part in the session held by videoconference and devoted to reviewing and adopting the draft African Digital Pact and the draft Continental Strategy on AI, reaffirmed the Kingdom's commitment to building a prosperous digital future for every African, and to making the Continent a key player in the global economy. The two projects selected for this session represent the proactive commitment and significant contributions of the African continent to the Global Digital Compact and the Summit for the Future planned by the United Nations in September 2024, the Moroccan delegation noted, highlighting the efforts made to design these ambitious projects which aim to 'unify our digital transformation efforts in Africa, while taking into account the challenges and specificities specific to our continent.' 'We must welcome this collective approach which seeks to promote an inclusive and equitable digital society, capable of meeting the needs of all our citizens,' the delegation stressed. The delegation reaffirmed that Morocco is currently finalizing its National Digital Strategy 2030, which aims not only to contribute to the Kingdom's socio-economic development, but also to establish the catalysts necessary for a successful digital transformation, both for Morocco and for the region. The strategy aims to digitalize public services and boost the country's digital economy, with a particular focus on digital inclusion, infrastructure and skills building, and the development of a dynamic startup ecosystem, the Moroccan delegation highlighted. Similarly, Morocco has put in place several initiatives to encourage innovation and digital entrepreneurship, in particu lar to support young talent, the Moroccan delegation added, noting that it is crucial to offer them the training and the right framework to undertake, as they are the key players in our digital future. The delegation also pointed out that Morocco has distinguished itself by being among the first countries to adopt the UNESCO Recommendation on the Ethics of Artificial Intelligence, and to work towards its implementation. The Kingdom has considerable assets to accelerate its digital transformation and foster the responsible development of artificial intelligence. Recent initiatives include GITEX Africa Morocco, an excellent networking, collaboration and cooperation opportunity for key players in Africa's digital sector. The event not only showcased innovative 'Made in Morocco' and 'Made in Africa' solutions, but also attracted the attention of international investors, noted the Moroccan delegation. "GITEX's key figures testify to our progress and our potential to play a central role in the global digital eco nomy. This year's 45,000 visitors from more than 130 countries around the world is proof of this. Similarly, while we welcomed 900 exhibitors and 400 startups at the first edition, we are delighted to have surpassed those figures with over 1,400 exhibitors and 700 startups taking part this year. These figures clearly illustrate the growing enthusiasm for the African technology sector and GITEX Africa's position as a catalyst for innovation", added the Moroccan delegation. Source: Agence Marocaine De Presse

C24: Antigua and Barbuda Reaffirms Support for Autonomy Plan, “The Compromise Solution”

United Nations (New York) - Antigua and Barbuda reiterated, in New York, its support for the autonomy plan deeming it the "compromise solution" to resolve the regional dispute over the Moroccan Sahara. Presented by Morocco in 2007, this initiative "is consistent with international law, the United Nations Charter and the resolutions of the Security Council and the General Assembly", underlined Ambassador Walton Alfonso Webson, permanent representative of Antigua and Barbuda at the ordinary session of the UN Committee of 24 (June 10-21). Expressing his country's support for the political process carried out under the exclusive auspices of the UN Secretary-General, Webson called for the resumption of the round table process with the participation of Morocco, Algeria, Mauritania and the "polisario". He also welcomed the participation of democratically re-elected representatives of the Moroccan Sahara in regional seminars and annual meetings of the C24, as well as in the two round tables held in Geneva. The di plomat also commended the socio-economic development underway in the Moroccan Sahara, thanks to investments and projects implemented within the framework of the New Development Model of the Southern Provinces. He further invited all parties to remain engaged in the political process with a view to achieving a political and peaceful solution to the regional dispute over the Moroccan Sahara. The ambassador praised Morocco's full respect of the ceasefire and its full and continued cooperation with MINURSO, calling on the other parties to return to the ceasefire because the security and stability of the whole region is at stake, and to cease any obstruction to MINURSO's freedom of movement. Source: Agence Marocaine De Presse

London: Experts’ Panel Hails Morocco’s Efforts to Solve Artificial Conflict over Sahara

London - Morocco's tangible efforts to put an end to the artificial conflict over the Sahara were hailed by participants in a round table held on Friday in London by prestigious British think tank The Royal United Service Institute (RUSI). Launched in partnership with Morocco's embassy in the United Kingdom under the theme "Resolving the conflict over the Moroccan Sahara: a Moroccan-British perspective," the event was attended by a range of experts and eminent figures, who emphasized Morocco's "fundamental" role in the stability and security of the Sahel region in accordance with the Enlightened Vision of His Majesty King Mohammed VI. The round table was moderated by Professor Marc Weller, Chair of International Law and Constitutional Studies at Cambridge University, Sir Mark Lyall Grant, former UK National Security Adviser and former UK representative to the UN, Mbarka Bouaida, President of the Guelmim Oued-Noun region, and diplomat and writer Hassan Hami. The speakers exchanged on the artificial conflict over the Moroccan Sahara, including legal, geopolitical, economic and human development points of view, while highlighting the British government's position and the timeliness of its evolution in a changing national and international context. In the light of the elements presented, the speakers highlighted the opportunity for the United Kingdom to align itself with the current momentum of the international community, which broadly supports the Moroccan autonomy plan as the only credible solution for resolving this regional dispute. The participants also expressed deep concern about the alarming humanitarian situation in the Tindouf camps in Algeria and warned against exploiting the status quo to spread extremism and terrorism in the region. Finally, discussions on the development of the Southern Provinces and the implementation of advanced regionalization enabled participants to learn about concrete progress on the ground. Around twenty high-level participants took part in the round table, including offic ials from the British Foreign Office and Ministry of Defence, former British ministers and diplomats, as well as experts and researchers in geopolitics and defence. Source: Agence Marocaine De Presse

Sahara: Burkina Faso Reaffirms Support for Autonomy Plan, “Best Solution”

United Nations - Burkina Faso reiterated, in New York, its support for the Moroccan autonomy initiative, "the best solution" to the regional dispute around the Sahara. "Burkina Faso reaffirms its support for the Moroccan Autonomy Initiative, for which the Security Council welcomed Morocco's credible efforts because it is convinced that this initiative remains the best offer to resolve this dispute," underlined the Representative permanent representative of Burkina Faso at the UN, ambassador Oumarou Ganou during the ordinary session of the UN Committee of 24 (June 10-21). He noted that the autonomy plan, which is consistent with international law, the United Nations Charter and the resolutions of the Security Council and the General Assembly, "undoubtedly constitutes a realistic and reliable alternative" for the resolution of this dispute. In addition, the diplomat welcomed the international dynamic reflected by the effective opening of around thirty Consulates General in the region, including that of Burki na Faso in Dakhla since October 2020. He also indicated that his country welcomes the investments made by Morocco in favor of the populations of the southern provinces as part of the new development model launched in 2015. "It is certain that these investments contribute significantly and concretely to improving the quality of people's lives," he said. Ganou further praised Morocco's "full respect" for the ceasefire in the Moroccan Sahara and its full cooperation with MINURSO, calling on the other parties to be part of this peace dynamic. Burkina Faso has, moreover, renewed its support for the ongoing political process, carried out under the aegis of the Secretary General of the United Nations to achieve a political, realistic, lasting and compromise solution to the regional dispute over the Sahara, as recommended by all relevant Security Council resolutions since 2007. The diplomat further indicated that his country welcomes the efforts of the UNSG Personal Envoy to the Moroccan Sahara, Staffan de Mistur a, to relaunch the political process under the exclusive auspices of the Secretary General through his visits to the parties concerned by this dispute. In this context, Burkina Faso called for the resumption of round tables using the same format and with the main actors in accordance with United Nations Security Council resolution 2703 for a successful outcome of the process. The ambassador concluded that the resolution of this regional dispute through negotiation and dialogue "will enable strengthened cooperation between the member states of the Arab Maghreb Union, and would undoubtedly contribute to stability and security in the entire region and to curb the phenomenon of terrorism in the Sahel of which my country has been the victim for several years." Source: Agence Marocaine De Presse

UN: Human Rights Violations in Tindouf Camps Condemned in New York

United Nations (New York) - The blatant human rights violations in Tindouf camps, south-west Algeria, were strongly denounced at the regular session of the UN Committee of 24 (C24), held on June 11-21 in New York. 'Tindouf camps have become a brutal symbol of human suffering, where abuse, repression, extreme poverty and malnutrition are the norm rather than the exception,' said Khadija Ezaoui, a native of LaSyoune. She noted that the humanitarian aid intended for the sequestered population in these camps is diverted to be sold on the markets of neighboring countries rather than being channeled to those who need it most, adding that the leaders of the "polisario" armed separatist movement engage in the systematic embezzlment of this aid with the active complicity of Algeria. She cited the latest revelations from the World Food Programme (WFP) in its January 2023 report entitled "Summary report on the evaluation of the provisional strategic plan for Algeria (2019-2022)" and the 2015 report from the European Anti-Fraud Office. "The evidence provided by the WFP leaves no room for doubt, clearly establishing the embezzlment of essential foodstuffs, including cookies intended for children as part of humanitarian aid", she denounced, adding that these foodstuffs are sold on local markets in Tindouf, outside the camps and in neighboring countries. Ezaoui pointed out that the WFP had highlighted the obstruction of the access of UN specialized agencies to Tindouf camps and the bias inherent in the distribution of humanitarian aid orchestrated by the armed group "polisario". 'This shocking situation is due to the fact that Algeria did not allow the UNHCR to register the population held hostage in Tindouf camps, in accordance with its mandate and the resolutions of the UN Security Council," she reported, noting that the sequestered population of these camps continue to live in a "zone of total anarchy", marked by multiple human rights violations, at a time when Algeria has delegated its authority over the camps to the "polisario". On this matter, she pointed out that the UN Human Rights Committee had repeatedly expressed its serious concerns about this illegal delegation of powers, adding that these same concerns had been echoed by the UN Secretary-General in his report to the Security Council. Ezaoui also condemned the abuses and exactions endured by the population sequestered in the Tindouf camps when they claim their legitimate rights, adding that cases of slavery have been denounced by several NGOs and media outlets. 'When the sequestered population dare to raise their voices against the exactions perpetrated by Algeria and the +polisario+, their legitimate demands are met with brutality and repression,' she said, citing the recent case of three individuals who were victims of arbitrary detention and torture at the hands of the "polisario". She also pointed out that the same fate applies to women who are subjected to various forms of violence by Algeria and its "polisario" puppet, stressing that this situation call s for an immediate international response. She called on the international community "to act swiftly and decisively to put an end to this humanitarian catastrophe, and to hold Algeria to account for its refusal to respond to the urgent and forceful calls of Security Council resolutions to register the population held hostage in Tindouf camps.' To her, the only solution to this disastrous situation is the safe and dignified return of the population sequestered in Tindouf camps, through the implementation of the Moroccan autonomy plan. Source: Agence Marocaine De Presse

Lower House Speaker Holds Talks with Spanish Ambassador to Morocco

Rabat - Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rachid Talbi Alami, held talks, here Wednesday, with Spanish Ambassador to Morocco, Enrique Ojeda Villa, to discuss several issues of common interest. During this meeting, the two sides expressed their pride in the depth of the solid long-standing relations uniting the two countries, under the leadership of the Sovereigns of the two Kingdoms, His Majesty King Mohammed VI and His Majesty King Felipe VI, says a press release from the House of Representatives. They also highlighted the high level of parliamentary cooperation between the legislative institutions of the two countries, adds the press release. Source: Agence Marocaine De Presse

UN: Bahiya Ghella Points Up Moroccan Sahara’s Social, Economic Momentum

United Nations (New York) - The elected member from the Dakhla-Oued Eddahab region, Ghalla Bahiya, highlighted in New York the momentum that the southern provinces of Morocco are experiencing economically and socially, thanks to the new development model launched by His Majesty King Mohammed VI in 2015. Speaking at the annual session of the United Nations C-24 committee, which is taking place from June 11 to 21, Bahiya emphasized that this innovative development model is part of the Kingdom's firm commitment to ensuring that all citizens enjoy the fullness of their rights and freedoms and to developing a cohesive society where everyone benefits from security, freedom, equal opportunities, respect for their dignity, and social justice. Within the framework of this model, which takes into account the region's specificities and the aspirations of local populations, major investment projects have been launched, focusing on infrastructure (roads, ports, and airports), healthcare, education, industry, agriculture , renewable energies, tourism, mining, fishing, and social sectors. The elected official from the Moroccan Sahara also indicated that the new development model for the southern provinces, with a budget of nearly $10 billion, has achieved over 80% of its socio-economic and structural projects, adding that this initiative aims to create more than 120,000 jobs and double the local GDP. She further stated that the two regions of the southern provinces achieved a growth rate over 50% higher than the national average, namely 10.9% for the Laayoune region and 10.5% for the Dakhla region. Moreover, the elected representative of the Dakhla-Oued Eddahab region indicated that the Moroccan Sahara is now known for its unprecedented economic and social empowerment and as a regional economic hub. In this context, she noted that three Royal initiatives, namely the Morocco-Nigeria Gas Pipeline, the Atlantic Africa Initiative, and the Initiative to Enable Access to the Atlantic for Sahel Countries, will make the Moroccan Sa hara a platform for security, stability, and co-development in Africa, the Atlantic, and beyond. Recalling the Royal speech on the occasion of the 48th anniversary of the Green March, in which His Majesty King Mohammed VI emphasized an ambitious geopolitical vision for Morocco, focused on transforming the Atlantic facade, the speaker affirmed that the goal outlined by the Sovereign is to make this region a focal point for communion, economic integration, and a focal point on the African and international stages. She continued that His Majesty the King expressed His determination to carry out major projects in the southern provinces, focusing on the development of services and infrastructure dedicated to human and economic progress. Regarding the Dakhla-Oued Eddahab region, Bahiya pointed out that this region has benefited from numerous infrastructure projects, such as the construction of the Tiznit-LaSyoune-Dakhla expressway spanning 1,055 km, as well as the Dakhla Atlantic Port, in addition to the extensi on of the electrical grid. She noted that thanks to a visionary Royal vision, the Dakhla Atlantic Port project, which mobilizes an investment of around 10 billion dirhams, aims to stimulate the economic, social, and industrial development of the southern provinces, especially the Dakhla-Oued Eddahab region. "This project aims to transform the region into a major industrial hub, promoting the development of a robust naval industry and positioning it as a strategic crossroads, while offering privileged access to the African continent," she continued. Bahiya noted that this new port is intended to accommodate future fishery product flows, particularly the exploitation of small pelagic stocks in zone C (Boujdour-Lagouira), and will serve as a logistical and economic lever to structure the economic and social development of southern Morocco. She also emphasized that several institutions are being developed to strengthen local capacities, citing projects such as the transformation of the regional hospital into a university hospital center, the creation of a "city of trades and skills," and the opening of a medical faculty. On the cultural front, the speaker observed that Morocco has launched a series of initiatives to preserve, integrate, and promote Hassani culture, in line with the Constitution, noting that many public libraries have been opened and several cultural and musical festivals are organized in different cities of the Moroccan Sahara such as Dakhla, Laayoune, and Tan-Tan. A cultural club, a media library, a museum (Dakhla), a Hassani music institute, and a center for the preservation of Hassani culture have also been established, she said, adding that this Center has managed to gather more than 400 Hassani poetry manuscripts. As for the conditions of women in the Moroccan Sahara, Bahiya noted that women play a leading role in society and enjoy a high political participation level, as is the case in other regions of the Kingdom. In the southern provinces, women hold elected office at local, provincia l and national levels and participate in the management of local affairs through regional and local councils elected as part of the advanced regionalization adopted by the Kingdom, she noted, citing projects that have improved the living conditions of vulnerable groups and created income-generating activities in the region. She also pointed out that other social projects helped introduce thousands of women into the job market, adding that women in the Moroccan Sahara are present in parliament, regional councils and municipal councils, and enjoy the same rights and freedoms as their fellow citizens in other regions of the Kingdom. Referring to the legislative, regional and local elections that took place in Morocco, including its Sahara, in September 2021, Bahiya said that these milestones demonstrated the dedication and attachment of the people of the Sahara to their Moroccan identity. She recalled that this triple ballot, which saw massive participation by the populations of the southern provinces, took p lace in a climate of serenity throughout the national territory, pointing out that the turnout in the Moroccan Sahara region reached 66.94% for LaSyoune-Sakia El Hamra and 58.30% for Dakhla Oued Eddahab, the highest at national level. For Ghalla Bahiya, the turnout in the Kingdom's southern provinces confirms the unwavering commitment of the people of the Sahara to the Royal project of building a modern, democratic society, adding that this population is fully integrated into the management of local and public affairs through the election of its representatives to local councils, regional councils and the national parliament. She also condemned the 'desperate conditions' in which women sequestered in the Tindouf camps in south-west Algeria live, where they are subjected to various forms of abuse and torture, including rape. 'Women and children's rights are violated in the Tindouf camps without any action taken by the host country, who still refuses to allow the UNHCR to fulfill its humanitarian mandate to protect the population of these camps, including women and children,' she denounced, insisting that this situation makes it imperative to take a census of these populations. In this context, it condemned the role of the "polisario" separatist group and the host country, Algeria, in the serious and systematic violations of human rights in these camps, as evidenced by the various reports of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), which highlight the large-scale harassment, arrests and ill-treatment of bloggers, doctors and nurses in the Tindouf camps by separatist militias. Bahiya also spoke out against the precarious living conditions in which the sequestered people in these camps live, due to the detour of humanitarian aid by the "polisario", as confirmed by the World Food Program (WFP) and the European Union Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF). In its 2023 report, the WFP noted major dysfunctions in the management of aid in the Tindouf camps, notably the sale of WFP products on the markets of n eighboring countries, she recalled. "The status quo has an obvious cost for our brothers and sisters in the Tindouf camps, and creates uncertainty about their future", she lamented. To this end, she urged the international community to get the armed separatist group and the host country, Algeria, to put an end to these violations, to stop using children as soldiers, and to allow the registration and census of the populations sequestered in the Tindouf camps. Ghalla Bahiya also pointed out that to put an end to the suffering of these populations sequestered in the Tindouf camps, Morocco proposed the Autonomy Plan in 2007, within the framework of the Kingdom's sovereignty and territorial integrity. "The Moroccan Autonomy Plan is now supported by more than 107 countries around the world, at a time when some 30 states and regional organizations have opened consulates general in the cities of LaSyoune and Dakhla," she said, adding that the autonomy plan is a widely recognized political solution and is in line with Morocco's advanced regionalization process. She recalled that the Autonomy Plan, described as serious and credible in the 20 UN Security Council resolutions since 2007, legitimately aims to achieve a definitive political solution to the regional dispute over the Moroccan Sahara. This initiative rests on two pillars: the establishment of local and representative institutions enabling the population of the Moroccan Sahara to enjoy their political, social and cultural rights, and the preservation of Morocco's historic sovereignty over this region, in accordance with international law, explained the elected representative of the Moroccan Sahara. She concluded that implementation of the autonomy plan would further accelerate socio-economic development and guarantee lasting peace and stability in the region. Source: Agence Marocaine De Presse

C-24: M’hamed Abba Underscores Massive International Support for Morocco’s Autonomy Plan

United Nations (New York) - The elected member from the Laayoune Sakia El Hamra region, M'hamed Abba, highlighted, before the members of the United Nations C-24 Committee in New York, the massive international support for the autonomy plan, the only solution to definitively resolve the regional dispute over the Moroccan Sahara. Speaking at the annual C24 meeting, which is held from June 11th to 21st, Abba indicated that this initiative presented by Morocco in 2007 enjoys solid backing from over 107 United Nations member states. He noted that around thirty countries and regional organizations have decided to open consulates general in the cities of Laayoune and Dakhla, thus marking the irreversible dynamic of the Moroccan character of the Sahara. "This is a major development illustrating the absence of any other solution to the issue of the Moroccan Sahara than within the framework of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Kingdom," he insisted, stating that the status quo "leaves the door open to security risks, including violence, extremism, human trafficking, and economic exploitation." The elected official from the Moroccan Sahara also noted that the autonomy plan, inspired by contemporary models of territorial conflict resolution, is fully compliant with international law and is based on an inclusive and participatory approach. He emphasized that this initiative, described as serious and credible in the 20 resolutions of the United Nations Security Council since 2007, aims legitimately to achieve a definitive political solution to the regional dispute over the Sahara. This initiative is based on two pillars: the establishment of local and representative institutions allowing the population of the Moroccan Sahara to enjoy their political, social, and cultural rights, and the preservation of Morocco's historical sovereignty over this region, in accordance with international law, he explained. He pointed out that the Moroccan autonomy initiative grants expanded prerogatives allowing the Sahara pop ulations to democratically manage their own affairs through legislative, executive, and judicial bodies with exclusive powers. He added that these bodies have the necessary financial resources for the development of the region in all areas and will actively participate in the economic, social, and cultural life of the Kingdom. "The Moroccan initiative will allow regional integration that will guarantee development, security, and cooperation in the Maghreb, which remains one of the least economically integrated regions in the world," the speaker further noted. Abba also remarked that the population of the Moroccan Sahara democratically manages its local affairs and enjoys all fundamental freedoms guaranteed by the 2011 Constitution, as well as its socio-economic rights. He noted that the situation in the southern provinces is, in many respects, more favorable than that prevailing in the Tindouf camps and in any other region of the host country, Algeria. Responding to the fallacious allegations propagated by Algeria regarding the representativeness of the population of the Moroccan Sahara, Abba emphasized that the elected representatives from the Moroccan Sahara are the only legitimate representatives of the local population who enjoy democratic legitimacy, "unlike a minority that, illusorily and without any legal basis, attempts to proclaim itself representative of these populations." He recalled that the legislative, regional, and local elections in Morocco, held on September 8, 2021, were a "democratic success," allowing notably clear parliamentary political alternation. He specified that the voter turnout in the Sahara region reached 66.94% for Laayoune-Sakia El Hamra and 58.30% for Dakhla Oued Eddahab, the highest at the national level. He noted that these elections were conducted in democratic conditions and were monitored, independently and neutrally, by 5,020 national and international observers. For Abba, the participation rates in the southern provinces constitute an explicit plebiscite of the local population on its Moroccan identity and its attachment to the democratic process. "It is also the most evident rejection of the +polisario+ dreams regarding its representativeness," he insisted, noting that the armed separatist militia "enjoys no legal, popular, or democratic legitimacy to claim representation of the population of the Moroccan Sahara." He further indicated that the populations of the Sahara enjoy the same freedoms as their fellow citizens in other regions of the Kingdom, adding that the number of associations operating in the southern provinces has risen to more than 7,997 associations. The speaker stated that these populations actively participate in the establishment of policies relating to the management and exploitation of national resources, through their representatives in Parliament and the elected authorities at the local and regional levels. He continued that these populations have political elites at the level of national institutions, regional councils, and provincial councils, specifying that all elected presidents and members of regional and local councils in the Moroccan Sahara are natives of the region, which strengthens the management of their own affairs by the populations. In the same vein, Abba mentioned the considerable efforts that Morocco has continuously made since the recovery of its territorial integrity to ensure the socio-economic development of its Southern provinces. He noted that human development indicators in the Moroccan Sahara were 6% lower than those in the Northern regions, but today, these indicators exceed the average of other regions of the Kingdom. He further explained that this reformative momentum accelerated further with the launch in 2015 by His Majesty King Mohammed VI of the new development model for the Southern provinces. He clarified that this model is a mechanism for the application and acceleration of advanced regionalization, aiming to ensure democratic governance and sustainable integrated human development in line with the specificities of the Sahara region. He added that thanks to the investments made under this model, with project completion rates now exceeding 80%, the Moroccan Sahara region has become an economic hub meeting international standards and a bridge between Morocco, Africa, and Europe. "Thanks to these achievements, the Southern provinces of Morocco have recorded significant performances, placing them at the forefront compared to other regions of the Kingdom," he emphasized. In 2021, the annual growth rate in Laayoune-Sakia El Hamra reached 10.9%, significantly higher than the national average, he pointed out. He noted that the GDP per capita in the Moroccan Sahara is 1.6 times higher than the national average, and household consumption is at least 8% higher than the national average. The GDP totals 52,301 dirhams per capita in the city of Dakhla and 27,442 in Laayoune, he said. Echoing the same sentiments, Abba underscored that the Moroccan Sahara, distinguished by its dynamism, is on track to becoming a regional economic hub and a logistical platform on the African continent. In this context, he recalled the Royal speech on the occasion of the 48th anniversary of the Green March, in which His Majesty King Mohammed VI emphasized the need to strengthen the Atlantic facade, a place of human communion and an economic integration hub promoting exchanges between states in the interest of all stakeholders in a win-win approach. He noted in this regard that the three Royal initiatives, namely the Morocco-Nigeria Gas Pipeline, the Atlantic Africa Initiative, and the Initiative to promote access to the Atlantic for Sahel countries, will turn the Moroccan Sahara into a platform for security, stability, and co-development in Africa, the Atlantic, and beyond. "The Royal initiatives represent a step forward in the Kingdom's Atlantic policy, symbolizing the emergence of the Moroccan Sahara as a hub and gateway to Africa for Europe and the Americas," he stated. He also mentioned that the new Atlantic Port of Dakhla, construction of which began in October 2021 and will be completed by 2028, will support regional economic, social, and industrial development in all productive sectors and will also provide the Southern provinces with a modern and evolving logistical tool commensurate with their development ambitions, in addition to valorizing marine fishing products. With a total investment of 10 billion dirhams, this new structure, located at N'tireft, 40 km north of Dakhla, will include an industrial zone of 270 hectares, of which approximately 60 hectares are dedicated to various industrial, administrative, and storage activities, as well as a free zone of 13 hectares, he specified. He noted that with the creation of an industrial-logistics zone, a zone dedicated to commerce, and a section dedicated to the development of the marine fishing industry, the port of Dakhla will place the Southern provinces on the network of international maritime routes and will make them a regional hub for investment, logistics, and international trade, particul arly with the African continent. He also mentioned that the port infrastructures of Laayoune (El Marsa commune), Tarfaya, and Boujdour have been strengthened to give a strong impetus to the economic activities of the region, in addition to the creation of a new port in Tarfaya. This integrated project, for which a budget of nearly 379 million DH has been allocated, is part of the Halieutis Plan and the national plan for the development of coastal fishing activities, he recalled. Referring to the expressway that will connect Tiznit to Dakhla over a distance of 1,055 km, the speaker indicated that the works had progressed by more than 90%, highlighting that this project, which is an integral part of the development program of the Southern provinces initiated in November 2015, required an investment of 10 billion dirhams. These infrastructures will be made accessible to African countries to support their development, reflecting Morocco's commitment to mutually beneficial cooperation aimed at shared prosperity , he affirmed. Regarding the "catastrophic" situation prevailing in the Tindouf camps in southwestern Algeria, Abba indicated that the populations trapped in these camps are deprived of their most basic rights and are considered a "commercial asset" used by the "polisario" armed group and the host country for enrichment through the diversion of humanitarian aid. "The humanitarian situation in the Tindouf camps is one of despair and inaction that has lasted for nearly 50 years and constitutes a threat to the stability of the entire region," he warned, adding that the systematic diversion of humanitarian aid intended for the population of the Tindouf camps has been once again confirmed by a new report from the World Food Programme (WFP). He recalled, in this regard, that all Security Council resolutions since 2011 have called on the host country of the Tindouf camps, Algeria, to allow for the registration of the camp populations, in accordance with international humanitarian law. In this context, he urged t he international community to demand that the host country, Algeria, and the "polisario" end the situation of anarchy prevailing in the Tindouf camps, by allowing a dignified return of the trapped populations to their homeland, Morocco. Source: Agence Marocaine De Presse