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African Union ready to propose solutions for Western Sahara conflict

March 20, 2018 at 2:04 pm

Chairperson of the AU Commission, Moussa Faki [Chatham House/Flickr

The President of the African Union (AU) and Chadian Commission, Moussa Faki, has announced that the AU is ready to draft a proposal for the resolution of the conflict in Western Sahara. The announcement follows a three-day visit to Algeria, against which Morocco spoke out, where the AU is looking to lead a more active role in the resolution of the Saharawi crisis.

The main conflict over the past four decades has been between Morocco and the Polisario Front, the Sahrawi separatists who have been fighting for self-determination in Western Sahara for the past 27 years. Morocco believes that the area is part of its own sovereign territory.

The AU includes representatives from both the Kingdom of Morocco and the self-proclaimed Arab Saharawi and Democratic Republic (SADR) supported by the Polisario.

Western Sahara explainer

However, for Morocco, which only returned to the AU last year after its absence following the inclusion of the SADR in the Union, resolutions should not be the task of the AU but of the UN. Rabat’s return was fuelled by hopes that its presence would weaken the pro-Polisario group in the AU, but that is unlikely given its support from South Africa and Algeria.

Moroccan Minister of Foreign Affairs, Nasser Bourita, reiterated that the process of resolving the Saharawi crisis must be under UN control, as it has always been, and “without the intervention of another regional or international organisation.”

According to Moussa Faki, the AU Commission wants to “submit a report on the modalities of the contribution of the African Union to the search for a solution within the framework of the relevant resolutions of the African Union and the UN Security Council.”

Though the type of resolution hasn’t been revealed, media reports have alluded to the fact that some indication will be made at the Conference of African Heads of State in Mauritania tomorrow. On the agenda will be discussions about the economic and commercial problems across the continent.