Moroccan Sahara issue at the AU Summit in Nouakchott

The Heads of State and Government of the 55 member countries of the African Union (AU) are expected in Nouakchott, Mauritania, for the 31st AU biennial ordinary summit scheduled for July 1-2.

For Moroccan diplomacy, the Nouakchott summit is no different from the previous summit held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, January 28-29 even if the draft agenda includes the report of the President of the AU Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat.

Mahamat is expected to present the report on the Moroccan Sahara issue during a session behind closed doors.

Yet, the inclusion of this issue on the agenda of the 31st African Summit would not be appreciated by Morocco, which considers that the issue falls exclusively under the responsibility of the United Nations Security Council, as recently confirmed by the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres in his latest annual report to the Council, in April 2018.

The AU leaders and the AU Commission president defend themselves, saying they only want to propose a roadmap to facilitate a definitive solution to the territorial conflict around the Moroccan Sahara. But for Rabat, it is out of the question to let the Pan-African organization play any arbitration role. Rabat deems that the AU has already violated the principle of neutrality with the admission, as a Member State, of the so-called Sahara Republic “SADR” while this entity does not fulfil any requirement of a sovereign State and is not recognized as such by the United Nations.

Following its triumphant return to the African Union in January 2017, Morocco is today well-positioned on the African political scene to defend its territorial integrity and to block its opponents, mainly Algeria and South Africa, which continue to support the Polisario separatists and to defend their chimerical independence claims.

It is not excluded that Morocco’s official delegation to the Nouakchott summit be led by King Mohammed VI in person, as reported recently by Jeune Afrique weekly.

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