Hungary FM says supports Morocco on Western Sahara autonomy
Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto announced on Monday his country’s support for Morocco’s proposal for autonomy in the disputed Western Sahara territory, making Hungary the latest nation to back Rabat in the conflict.
His announcement came during a meeting with his Moroccan counterpart, Nasser Bourita, in Budapest.
Szijjarto expressed his "support for the efforts made under the exclusive auspices of the United Nations with the aim of reaching a political, realistic, pragmatic and sustainable solution to the Western Sahara issue, based on consensus", according to Moroccan state media.
The Hungarian minister also stressed that Morocco plays a "critical and exemplary role in the fight against illegal immigration and terrorism," as the country is often used as a transit point by African migrants to cross into European Union member Spain.
Hungary is one of at least 55 countries around the world to support Rabat’s territorial claim over Western Sahara, of which Morocco controls 80 percent.
The Polisario Front – which controls the remaining 20 percent - have been engaged in a decades-long struggle against Morocco for sovereignty over the desert region, and self-determination for the Sahrawi people. The movement has rejected Morocco's proposal of autonomy, saying it is not enough.
Morocco claims that Western Sahara was given to them by the Spanish, and has refused to conduct a "right of self-determination" referendum agreed on in a 1991 UN-brokered ceasefire.
The Western Sahara conflict has also damaged Morocco’s ties with neighbouring rival Algeria, which backs the Polisario.