As part of his remarks on the citizen-run show “Sahara Debate”, Mr. Moussa Aksar, Editor of the Nigerien independent weekly newspaper “L'Evènement”, President of the Norbert Zongo Unit for investigative journalism in West Africa and member of the 3I Network, bringing together French-speaking journalists from West Africa, the Maghreb and Europe, seized this opportunity to highlight the clear and the unequivocal role assigned to the African Union in the regional dispute over the Moroccan Sahara.
Mr. Aksar referred to the historical context of this regional dispute and stated that 1975 marked the date of the Spanish colonial power’s withdrawal from the Moroccan Sahara, a date that saw Morocco recovering its territory.
Therefore, the Nigerian journalist highlighted the role of Algeria as a stakeholder in this dispute, which from that date, has been fiercely opposing the completion of the territorial integrity of Morocco and has been engaging in a deliberate policy of systematically attempting to the legitimate rights of the Kingdom.
In order to resolve this dispute, Morocco has always favoured the peaceful path bilaterally. First of all, through an African regional mediation of the Organization of the African Union (OAU) that has been underway since 1975 during the withdrawal of the Spanish occupier, and finished unsuccessful. Following this failure, Morocco transferred the file to the United Nations, where a process was initiated in 1985, he stressed.
Next, Mr. Aksar referred to decision 653 of July 2017, adopted at the 29th African Union Summit in Addis Ababa, which defines the mandate of the Chairperson of the AU Commission and it states that “The Organization’s efforts must come to support those of the United Nations”.
For the Nigerian journalist, this decision commits the African Union’s Presidents and the AU Commission, on the basis of the framework agreement signed between the AU and the United Nations on May 19, 2017, to ensure the appropriate support to the United Nations’ Secretary General’s initiatives that he plans to take to reach a consensual and a final solution to the question of the Moroccan Sahara.
He added that this decision is part of the leadership of the UN in examining the regional dispute over the Moroccan Sahara, which makes no mention of the referendum as an option.
While referring to decision 693 of Nouakchott Summit of Heads of State and Government of the AU, Mr. Aksar, indicated that in accordance with article 33 of the Charter of the United Nations, in which the Secretary General, Mr. Antonio Guterres, conducts good offices to re-launch the initiated process under the supervision of the Security Council, the AU, like every other regional organizations, must give its full support.
For Mr. Aksar, decision 693 established a mechanism consisting of a troika, composed of the President in office of the AU and the previous and next Presidents of the AU, to ensure a follow-up of the question of Moroccan Sahara while being examined by the United Nations.
For Mr. Aksar, this decision reiterated the UN process for finding a political, realistic pragmatic and lasting solution, based on the compromise to the dispute of the Moroccan Sahara.
Thus, the Nigerien journalist reported that the 33rd AU Summit was the first Summit in which the report of the AU Peace and Security Council made no reference to the question of Moroccan Sahara and during which the Chairperson of the AU Commission, Mr. Moussa Faki, clarified that in accordance with Decision 693, the AU Troika will support the process led by the United Nations, which is the framework voluntarily chosen by the parties to find a lasting solution to this regional dispute.
Mr. Aksar saved the opportunity to mention the participation of 37 African countries, from the five regions of the continent, in the Ministerial Conference of Marrakech on the African Union’s support of the regional dispute over the Moroccan Sahara, which was held on March 25, 2019, and who agreed to implement the wise concerted vision of the Heads of State at the 31st AU Summit, which reaffirms the exclusivity of the UN in the search for a peaceful, a realistic, a pragmatic and a sustainable solution in for the Moroccan Sahara.
These same positions were reiterated during the last Summit of Heads of State and Government, held on February 09, 2020 in Addis Ababa by the AU High Representative, he added.