Morocco Fails in First AU Test on Western Sahara

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The Chair of the Kingdom of Morocco was empty during the African Union Peace and Security Council (PSC)668th Meeting, held on Monday 20 March 2017, despite an official invitation extended to the kingdom to attend the discussion of briefings on the situation in Western Sahara.

“Morocco failed in the first AU test” of its willingness to discuss the issue of Western Sahara with a view to find a lasting and just solution to this last case of decolonization, stressed an African diplomat after the meeting.

The AU PSC held this meeting yesterday in its Headquarters in Addis Ababa with the participation of the permanent representatives of its 15 members, in addition to the Commissioner of the Peace and Security, the Saharawi Minister for Foreign Affairs, and Saharawi Minister in Charge of Africa, in addition to the AU Representative in the Minurso and a representative of the UN.

The meeting chaired by the South African Permanent Representative to the AU, listened to Commissioner of the Peace and Security, Ismail Chergui, who briefed the audience on the latest developments.

On his part, AU representative to the MINURSO, Ambassador Yilma Tadesse gave a historical chronology of the Moroccan obstacles to the efforts paid by the international community to resolve the conflict.

He stressed “the imperative necessity for the international community to break the stalemate on the Western Sahara peace process.”

The Saharawi party, which was represented by the Head of SADR Diplomacy, Mr. Mohamed Ould Salek, and Saharawi Minister in Charge of Africa, Mr. Hamdi Khalil Mayara, presented fully the Saharawi position and vision. They both called the AU to assume its full and due responsibility in finding a solution to this African-African conflict that persisted for more than 41 years because of the Moroccan rejection of all peaceful resolution.

They warned against a possible deterioration of the situation in the occupied countries if Morocco persists in jeopardizing UN and AU efforts to find a peaceful and just solution to the conflict.

After the meeting the PSC published various twits on the meeting stressing that the participating member states expressed “profound regret at Morocco’s absence, despite Morocco’s admission to the AU and a written invitation to the PSC meeting”.

On another register member states also “condemned violations of human rights by Morocco in Western Sahara and urge the UN Security Council to renew the mandate of the MINURSO”.

By Malainin Lakhal, Journalist and Western Sahara Advocate