Likewise even the touchy issue of Moroccan sovereignty over the former Spanish Sahara has seen forward movement. In 2007, the government advanced a proposal to break the long-standing impasse over the issue by offering generous autonomy to the area (including not only an elected local administration but also ideas about education and justice and the promise of financial support). Under the plan, the only matters that would remain in Rabat’s control would be defense and foreign affairs as well as the currency. The regional authority, meanwhile, would have broad powers over local administration, the economy, infrastructure, social and cultural affairs, and the environment. No less senior a U.S. official than Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton has described the autonomy proposal as “serious, credible, and realistic.”
13. The Sahara autonomous Region will have the financial resources required for its development in all areas. Resources will come, in particular, from:
· taxes, duties and regional levies enacted by the Region’s competent authorities;
· proceeds from the exploitation of natural resources allocated to the Region;
· the share of proceeds collected by the State from the exploitation of natural resources located in the Region;
· the necessary funds allocated in keeping with the principle of national solidarity;
· proceeds from the Region’s assets.
14. The State shall keep exclusive jurisdiction over the following in particular:
· the attributes of sovereignty, especially the flag, the national anthem and the currency;
· the attributes stemming from the constitutional and religious prerogatives of the King, as Commander of the Faithful and Guarantor of freedom of worship and of individual and collective freedoms;
· national security, external defense and defense of territorial integrity;
· external relations;
· the Kingdom’s juridical order.
(1) Enforcement of the original U.N.-OAU Settlement Plan:Under this alternative, the referendum would be conducted by MINURSO in accordance with the provisions of the Settlement Plan agreed to by the parties to the conflict, and the list of eligible voters established by MINURSO, under the supervision of the Security Council and the AU, and consistent with internationally recognized legal norms.(2) Enforcement of a version of the Peace Plan, or an alternative plan which provides for an act of self-determination with an option for independence, and which ensures that the electorate will be those entitled to the right to self-determination under international law; Under this alternative, a referendum would ultimately be held which includes – among other options – a ballot option for independence. The contours and the specifics could vary, so long as the provisions are aimed at ensuring that the decision is made by the “people” of Western Sahara.(3) Order negotiations on a “political solution” with preconditions, which include (1) the requirement that all options for self-determination be included, including independence, and (2) a timetable for such negotiations, after which, if no agreement is reached, a referendum will be held with all options available.