In a recent parliamentary session, Britain has reaffirmed its support for United Nations-led efforts to reach a fair, sustainable, and mutually acceptable political solution to the conflict over the Moroccan Sahara. The UK expressed its determination to continue encouraging constructive participation in the political process aimed at resolving this dispute, while also committing to enhance and protect human rights in the Tindouf camps.
Responding to written parliamentary questions from Members of Parliament, Daniel Kautchinsky, a Conservative Party MP, sought insights into the steps the UK is taking to support the political resolution of the Sahara issue based on the self-governing plan proposed by the Kingdom of Morocco. He also inquired about the measures taken with international allies to support this Moroccan initiative and actions planned to persuade Algeria to allow the UN High Commissioner for Refugees to conduct a census in the Tindouf camps.
David Rutley, Deputy Minister at the UK Foreign Office, assured that the UK endorsed United Nations Security Council Resolution 2703, passed last month, signaling support for UN-led endeavors to achieve a fair and enduring political solution accepted by all parties. Rutley emphasized support for the Personal Envoy of the UN Secretary-General for Sahara, Stefano De Mistura, praising efforts that facilitated De Mistura’s visit to the region. He reiterated London’s commitment to welcoming initiatives promoting constructive engagement to advance the political process.
MP Kautchinsky also directed questions to the UK Department for Business, Energy, and Trade regarding steps taken to encourage British companies to invest in green energy and hydrogen production in Morocco, exploring investment opportunities in the Sahara. He referenced a recent British court decision rejecting an appeal to invalidate trade agreements between London and Rabat in the southern regions of the Kingdom.
In response, Greg Hands, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Business, Energy, and Trade, highlighted the close collaboration between the UK and Morocco in various areas, particularly in facilitating trade relations since the implementation of the partnership agreement in January 2021. He underscored the UK’s active participation in the Power Breakthrough initiative with Morocco, aiming to make clean energy the most reliable and affordable option for all countries by 2030.
Hands clarified that the British government does not provide legal advice to private companies and individuals regarding their business activities, emphasizing that companies make their own decisions about their business operations, including in the Sahara, as they would in any other location.
Meanwhile, another British MP, Lynne Brown from the Labour Party, directed written inquiries to her country’s foreign office concerning the evaluation of allegations of forced disappearances and degrading treatment of Sahrawi refugees in the Tindouf camps. She also sought information on the human rights situation in the Sahara.
In response, the UK Foreign Office confirmed its commitment to enhancing and protecting human rights in the Sahara and the Tindouf camps. The statement expressed support for the language used in relevant UN Security Council resolutions and indicated ongoing discussions on human rights with the Moroccan government, including in their bilateral dialogues.