The expulsion of the “SADR”, a non-state entity, from the African Union: a prerequisite for effective regional and continental integration / for the protection against separatism

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DAR ES-SALAAM, Tanzania, October 18, 2021 – / African Media Agency (AMA) / – The Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies (IPCS) and the Tanzania Peace Foundation (TPF) based in Dar Es-Salaam, Tanzania, organized jointly, to Saturday, October 16, 2021, a seminar on the theme: “The imperative of post-Covid recovery: how can resolving the Sahara issue boost Africa’s stability and integration? “. This one-day event, held at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Dar Es Salaam, brought together more than 100 participants, including 25 speakers – MPs, former foreign ministers and ambassadors, business leaders , experts and academics as well as representatives of civil society and think tanks – from Tanzania as well as countries of the East African Community and the Southern African Development Community: Comoros, Ghana, Kenya, Mozambique, Rwanda, South Africa and Uganda.

The discussions, organized around four transversal panels, consisted in examining the question of the Sahara in the light of the challenges of the African Union and focused on the presence of a non-state entity among its sovereign and independent members, which many have called “Serious historical error”, a “legal aberration” and one “Political inconsistency”. After a brief historical and legal overview of the question, which showed, through history and international law, the sovereignty of Morocco over its Sahara, the participants unanimously requested a reinvigorated pan-Africanism which derives its strength from unity, peace and stability; and therefore economic integration, growth and development. Citing the heritage of the Casablanca Charter and that of African ancestors, such as the eminent Julius Nyerere and Jomo Kenyatta, participants insisted on the need to put an end to all forms of separatism (political secessionism, religious extremism, identity disintegration) to achieve absolute pan-African priorities such as the implementation of the African Common Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) and the objectives of Agenda 2063. As the participants underline, “There is no place for secessionism in African societies today”.

The Tanzanian and sub-regional speakers also congratulated Morocco for its continental leadership and the major diplomatic triumph it has won over the past 18 months, through the opening of 20 diplomatic representations by the African brother countries in Laâyoune and Dakhla, in the Sahara, expressing in its essence, strong support and effective implementation of a pragmatic, realistic and compromise-based approach. They also praised Morocco’s unwavering commitment to a dynamic of openness, progress and modernity for a global win-win development and South-South cooperation for the country, the region and Africa, illustrating its strong conviction in the potential of the continent. In addition, the unilateral severance of diplomatic relations with Morocco by Algeria, in response to the outstretched hand of His Majesty King Mohammed VI, was regretted and qualified as important. setback in the political process aimed at finding a just, sincere and credible solution based on dialogue and compromise.

After reviewing the particular context in which a separatist entity, without the attributes of a viable, sovereign and independent state, was admitted into the Organization of African Unity in 1982 – at a time when the continent was plagued by different currents ideological, now obsolete – participants discussed the solutions at the disposal of the African Union to restore its neutrality and impartiality on the Sahara issue. Among these solutions, the suspension of the African Union’s “SADR” was seen as a given, in view of the signing, on July 16, 2016, by 28 African countries of the Kigali motion, recognizing the extraordinary circumstances of the admission of the “SADR”, demanding the reintegration of Morocco into its institutional family and correlating it to the suspension of what was described by some participants as a “phantom state”.

In addition, the expulsion of the only non-state entity sitting among 54 sovereign and independent states, will make it possible, according to the debates, not only to ensure the protection of the pan-African organization against separatism, but also to allow the African Union’s effective, credible and legitimate contribution to the United Nations process, which recognizes the Moroccan Autonomy Plan, described by participants as the “Only viable solution to the dispute”, as “serious and credible” for a “just, lasting and mutually acceptable political solution», In accordance with the latest resolutions of the United Nations Security Council. Such a solution requires strong political will from the parties, as well as from the international community; a political will clearly demonstrated by Morocco – in stark contrast to Algeria’s manifest animosity and enmity towards the Kingdom.

Thus, in light of the adoption, in July 2018, at the Nouakchott Summit of Decision 693 (XXXI) of the African Union Commission on the question of Western Sahara, the majority of participants called for the expulsion of the “SADR” from the African Union, in full convergence with this primordial decision, sanctifying the exclusivity of the United Nations Security Council process and, thus, denoting the inability of the African Union to favor a viable and lasting solution as long as it does not regain credibility and impartiality on the Sahara issue.

Distributed by African Media Agency (AMA) on behalf of IPCS and TPF.

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