South Africa's obsession with the Moroccan Sahara irremediably undermines its continental claims for Security Council reform
The United Nations published, on Wednesday, the letter sent recently by the Permanent Representative of Morocco, Ambassador Omar Hilale, to the UN Secretary General and to the Council Security, in which he denounces the instrumentalization by South Africa of its presidency of the African Union, in order to advance its ideological and political agenda on the issue of the Moroccan Sahara.
In this letter dated January 19, 2021, Ambassador Hilale decries the Pretoria's crusade against the Moroccanness of the Sahara. The letter from Morocco is published as an official document of the Security Council and will be recorded in its annals.
The Ambassador of the Kingdom warned that "South Africa's obsession with focusing the attention of the Secretary-General and the Security Council on the issue of the Moroccan Sahara, while concealing the existential African causes, irremediably undermines its claims for the reform of the Security Council.
The publication of this Moroccan letter comes ahead of the African Union Summit scheduled in Addis Ababa early February.
South Africa is criticized in the document for its attempt to mislead the UN Secretary-General and the Security Council, through a correspondence addressed to them on December 30, 2020, falsely claiming that the Extraordinary Summit of the African Union on "Silencing the Guns" was devoted exclusively to the issue of the Moroccan Sahara.
"South Africa's unacknowledged objective is to direct the attention of the Secretary-General and the Security Council to one issue among the forty or so issues raised during this Summit, at the expense of the major concerns and expectations of the continent”, wrote the permanent representative of Morocco to the UN.
In this regard, Ambassador Hilale clarified that the only paragraph, which is preambular and in no way operational, concerning the Moroccan Sahara, in the documents of the Extraordinary Summit of the African Union dated last December “remains, to this day, contested because it was introduced in the decision of the extraordinary summit under conditions marked by the absence of transparency and the violation of the rules and procedures of the summit. This raised questions and requests by Morocco and several other member states of the African Union for official clarifications". He stressed that "these complaints remain, until now, unanswered."
In addition, the diplomat added that South Africa has knowingly ignored the threats and conflicts that hamper the development of the African continent, the bold policies and the structural economic advances, such as the African Continental Free Trade Area, while it was discussed during the Extraordinary Summit and included in its decision and statement.
He noted that decision 693, adopted by the African Summit in Nouakchott (July 1-2, 2018), clearly recognized that the issue of the Moroccan Sahara is the exclusive responsibility of the United Nations, specifying that this decision established the African Union Troika Mechanism, whose role is limited to “providing effective support for the efforts of the United Nations”.
In addition, the Ambassador of Morocco expressed the Kingdom's deep regret that South Africa, which holds the presidency of the African Union, and that of the Security Council, at the moment of sending his letter, has departed from the neutrality imposed on it by its functions, by particularizing the question of the Moroccan Sahara, and by sacrificing Africa's global challenges.
Hilale also regretted that South Africa is instrumentalizing the African Union and deviating its decisions and declarations, in favor of its own agenda, which the historical, political and legal realities of the Moroccanness of the Sahara blatantly contradict . He added that the overwhelming majority of African Union member states do not share South Africa's position on the issue of the Moroccan Sahara, which is completely out of tune with successive Security Council resolutions.
Finally, he reaffirmed Morocco's attachment to the exclusively UN process, in order to reach a political, realistic, pragmatic, and lasting solution of compromise to the question of the Moroccan Sahara, in accordance with the resolutions of the Security Council, which enshrined the preeminence, seriousness and credibility of the Moroccan Autonomy Initiative.
The diplomat concluded that this Initiative is and will remain the only solution to this regional dispute, within the framework of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Kingdom of Morocco.