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Monday, May 20, 2024
Major Event

Senegal has called on the African Union (AU) to contribute to the search of a "lasting solution" to the Sahara dispute opposing Morocco to the Algerian-backed separatist movement "Polisario" .

 "Senegal, one of the most active members of a large group of Morocco's friends, who constitute today the majority of the AU member countries, once again invites the African organization to contribute to a lasting solution of the Sahara issue instead of staying away and making the same reports on the stalemate", Senegal's Foreign Minister Cheikh Tidiane Gadio told the 10th ordinary session of the AU Executive Council meeting here January 25-26.

He made it clear that by accepting the Polisario - proclaimed Sahrawi republic as a full-fledged member of the African Union, the latter has "excluded itself from an African issue that concerns it in the first place".

Morocco quit in 1984 the then Organization of African Unity (OAU), now called African Union, to protest against the  so-called Sahrawi republic membership into the organization.

The Polisario, backed by Morocco’s eastern neighbor, Algeria, has been, since 1976 claming independence of the Moroccan Southern provinces, known as the Sahara. The former Spanish colony was retrieved by the kingdom in 1975 under the Tripartite Accords signed with Spain and Mauritania.

Tidian Gadio said the fact that the majority of member countries of the United nations General Assembly abstained from voting,  last December 14, an Algerian-draft resolution on the Sahara, sends a “strong message by the International community which has enough of the stalemate and wishes to explore new avenues in the search of a new exit strategy “ that would benefit both parties.

Ninety-one countries, out of 192, abstained from voting while another 31 just preferred not to take part in the vote on the Algerian draft resolution which attempted to revive the peace plan mooted by former US Secretary of State James Baker and  former representative of the UNSG to the Sahara. The plan, described as "buried" and "outdated" provided for a referendum on self-determination in the Moroccan Sahara.

The Senegalese top diplomat also welcomed Morocco’s proposal to grant a large autonomy for the Sahara inhabitants within the framework of Morocco’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.  

The 10th session of the AU Executive Council that discussed social and economic issues as well as the situation in Somalia, Darfur and Ivory Coast, was held in preparation of the 8th African Summit slated for January 29-30. 

 

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