AU: A Majority of 28 Countries Demand Suspension of Polisario’s Republic

sommet-2A majority of 28 countries out of the 54 member States of the African Union on Monday demanded the suspension of the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR,) self-proclaimed by the Polisario Front with the support of Algeria.

In a motion officially handed over to the President of the African Union (AU) by the head of State of Gabon, Ali Bongo Ondimba, the 28 signatory countries underscored that the suspension of the SADR will pave the way for the AU to “play a constructive role and positively contribute to the UN efforts to find a lasting settlement to the regional dispute over the Sahara.”

The motion of the 28-member group, to be surely endorsed in the short-run by at least a dozen other countries, comes in the wake of the message King Mohammed VI addressed to the 27th AU summit announcing the return of Morocco within the pan-African organization after 32 years of absence.

In their motion, the 28 African States hailed “the decision made by the Kingdom of Morocco, a founding member of the OAU” to integrate the AU. They pledged “to work so that Morocco’s legitimate return be effective as soon as possible” and to act for the immediate suspension of the “SADR” from the activities of the African Union and all its bodies.

Regarding the suspension of the SADR, the AU statutes provide for the suspension of a member only in the event this member seized power by force. This means that Morocco’s return to the AU does not necessarily result in the automatic suspension of the SADR.

The SADR suspension will certainly take time and heralds political and diplomatic battles that will be led mainly by Algeria and South Africa, the traditional supporters of the Polisario. But the initiative of a majority of 28 AU Member States opened the show and it is expected that other African countries will quickly rally their argument.

Senegalese President Macky Sall has clearly expressed the position of the majority of the AU member states saying, “We demand that the SADR be suspended from the AU.” The Motion of the 28 “is aligned with international law (…) since the SADR has not been recognized by the United Nations or any other international organizations,” stressed President Sall.

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