The Moroccan Sahara: The sound of reason will always prevail
The city of Marrakech, Morocco, hosted on 25 March 2019, a ministerial conference on the African Union’s role in supporting the UN-led political process in the regional dispute between Morocco and Algeria.
The delegates of 38 African countries came together in the African Ministerial Conference where they expressed their support to finding a political solution to the territorial dispute in the Moroccan Sahara.
The Marrakech conference was a sound success and was held in reaction to South Africa, Algeria and Namibia that led a fierce campaign to deviate from the UN-led political process in resolving this regional dispute of the Sahara by the organization by the Southern African Development Community (SADC) which had a solidarity conference with the so-called Western Sahara
on 25 and 26 March 2019 in Pretoria. The SADC conference failed since majority of the African countries made the choice to attend the parallel summit convened by Morocco and insisted that they were following a United Nations resolution passed at the African Union Organization Summit, held last year in Mauritania.
It is to be noted that seven member states of the SADC, namely Angola, Madagascar, Zambia, Malawi, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Tanzania and Eswatini were among the 38 countries that accepted Morocco’s invitation. CARICOM countries did not take part in that meeting, in spite of the multiple maneuvers to involve organization.
Finally, in the declaration adopted by the conference of Marrakech, the representatives of the 38 countries have warmly welcomed the constructive initiative of the Kingdom of Morocco to convene this conference and support the United Nations’ political process on the regional dispute over the Moroccan Sahara.
They also reaffirmed their unwavering commitment to a united, stable, proactive and prosperous Africa, to respond to the multidimensional challenges of today’s and tomorrow’s complex world. They also expressed support for the decision reached by the Assembly of the African Union Number (Dec.693), adopted at the 31st African Union Summit, held on July 1 and 2, 2018 in Nouakchott; which “puts the Moroccan Sahara issue back into its appropriate framework, that of the United Nations” and “allows, therefore, to immunize the AU against any inappropriate attempt to divert the path of unity and integration,” as said by the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Nasser Bourita.
It is these parameters that allow the AU to support the political process led by the United Nations and to be in accordance with the Security Council resolutions, which call for a “political, realistic, pragmatic and sustained solution based on compromise”. It is to be recalled that in the royal speech that marked the return of Morocco to its institutional family, HM King Mohammed VI set a roadmap for the kingdom within the African Union, the minister said, adding that the Marrakech Conference reflects this royal vision that it intends to federate and go forward.
Praising the merits of the Marrakech Conference, United Nations Secretary General, Antonio Guterres, hopes that all the AU Member States support the UN’s efforts aimed at reaching a final solution to the Moroccan Sahara issue.
Furthermore, the spokesperson for the UN Secretary General, Stéphane Dujarric was answering a question on the final declaration issued at the end of the Ministerial Conference on the support of the African Union to the United Nations and said, “We hope that all member states support the UN’s effort”.
In fact, this regional dispute, that is none but a legacy of the cold war era, has been proven to be a stalemate. Nevertheless, Morocco is keen on raising awareness on its straightforward position about its Sahara as well as its willingness to abide by the valid UN led process. The international community wants to look forward and tackle the challenges it faces that are particularly related to human and social development.
Thirty-eight countries join Morocco’s stance for a political solution within the Moroccan Sahara.