Morocco’s position in the face of the invasion of Ukraine

Morocco, a historic ally of France and the United States, did not take part in the vote on March 2 on a UN resolution “aggression against Ukraine”. We might be surprised. Its mass adoption by 141 of the 193 members of the organization reflects Russia’s isolation in the world. However, 35 countries including China, India and Algeria did not take part in the vote and 12 including Morocco did not take part in the vote. So Morocco neither protested, as did Belarus, North Korea, Eritrea and Syria, nor avoided, it did not participate in the vote.
Abstinence is a vote that is neither against nor for a resolution. Hence it has a deeply ambiguous character. This could actually mean that the country is not opposing the proposal, wants to hinder its adoption on the contrary, or even wants to show its indifference.
Failure to participate is not a vote, but can take two forms. Either the state is not represented at the meetings, or he attends but does not vote. What Morocco did, so did not refrain. So these two techniques may not have the same effect. Avoidance is a counted vote that can be interpreted favorably or negatively in relation to the project. Non-participation is not counted as a vote, but has a meaning.
What did Morocco want to express with this election? First, although it did not vote for the resolution, the country expressed its firm and unequivocal disapproval of the violation of Ukraine’s territorial integrity and expressed its desire that the conflict should end through dialogue and negotiation. This position, based on the best principles of international law, allows him to recall that many countries of which he is a member have recently been victims of other illegal foreign persecution without receiving equal attention from the international community and the United Nations.
It is then a reaction to the unfriendly attitude of the European Union, France, Spain and Germany on the Sahara. The facts are many. Some of the most recent similar examples have been given. The European Court of Justice has a very liberal jurisprudence regarding the “Polisario” organization, which is not represented by the United Nations, which can rightly be seen by the Kingdom as a partisan and discriminatory treatment of its relations. The European Union.
In November 2020 there was an armed attack by the same “Polisario” in Guerguet on the border with Mauritania, which was not the subject of any condemnation by the Council of the European Union and its main country. This ignorance of the fact Moroccans in the Sahara allowed Spain to agree with Algeria in April 2021 to accept the secret entry of the leader of “Polisario” Brahim Gali under the condition of his health. The whole country immediately condemned Spain, a record number of Moroccans then symbolically and peacefully entered the Mediterranean into the two enclaves of Seba and Melilia. In a very lively context, in Europe, in the case of illegal immigration, the European Union and the main states extended their support to Spain and denounced Morocco.
Finally, while the United States recognizes Morocco’s sovereignty over the Saharan territories, administered according to the United Nations’ principle of advanced autonomy, and while 23 states have opened consulates in Layoune and Dakhla, no European country has not indicated this. France’s vital interests should be logically represented in Morocco. An appeal launched in June 2021 to President Macron went unnoticed.
In this context of apathy, judged by some as hostility, Algeria authorized itself to sever its diplomatic ties with Morocco in August 2021 and threaten it militarily. These are undoubtedly the reasons that determined this position of Morocco not to participate in the vote on the proposal.

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by Hubert Sellon, Lawyers in Paris Staff
The author of the book The Moroccan Sahara, ed. Crossroads, 2nd ed. 2021

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About the Author: Hanley Mallin

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