AU Says Sahara Issue Is And Will Remain At United Nations – OpEd


In a communiqué at the end of the 31st AU Heads of State Summit in the Mauritanian capital Nouakchott on Monday, the 54-member continental body said its members have agreed to support ongoing efforts led by the UN to broker a lasting and mutually agreeable solution to the decades-old crisis.

The Moroccan Minister of Foreign Affairs Nacer Bourita, who was speaking at a press conference, noted that the issue of the Moroccan Sahara “is exclusively at the United Nations” and “only at the United Nations”. He added “There is no parallel process (…) So it is the primacy of the UN process that has been enshrined in the management of the issue of the Moroccan Sahara,” he added.

Paragraph 20C of the report submitted to the Heads of State and Government of the AU underlines “the need for the AU to include its approach as part of a reinforced support to the efforts of the United Nations in order to increase their chance of success. In other words, it would not be for the AU to develop a process parallel to that of the United Nations.”

The Moroccan minister noted that this decision means that the only reference in dealing with the issue will be the resolutions of the UN Security Council.

“It was clearly said that from now on it is at the level of the heads of state and at the level of the mechanism that was set up that the issue will be raised,” Bourita underlined.

With regard to this mechanism, which was clarified by AU Chairperson Paul Kagame on Sunday, Bourita said: “This is a mechanism that has been created to support the United Nations and to interact with the United Nations as part of the mandate of the UN organization.”

“So there is only one leader who is the United Nations and there are supports from the African Union, the Arab League, the European Union and other bodies that accompany the efforts of the United Nations,” he said.

The AU summit in Nouakchott marks Morocco’s substantial progress on the Sahara issue. Indeed, Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat, presented on Sunday to the AU Heads of State and Government the report he was mandated to by Decision No 653 adopted on the July 2017 session.

The report enshrines the primacy of the UN-led process in managing the Sahara issue. Thus, Paragraph 20C stipulates: “The need for the AU to include its approach as part of a reinforced support to the efforts of the United Nations in order to increase their chance of success. In other words, it would not be for the AU to develop a parallel process to that of the United Nations.”

Commenting the theme of the summit, which focused on the fight against corruption, the minister recalled the message addressed by the King to this summit, in which the sovereign underlined that corruption is not specific to Africa and that corruption is not a typically African scourge, adding that it is a universal phenomenon that exists in the countries of the South as well as in those of the North and it may well have an adverse impact on the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals agreed by the international community.

The fight against this scourge requires the coordination of experiences and the pooling of expertise, building on a common vision shared by all stakeholders, the Sovereign said, adding that under no circumstances should this drive become a new form of dominance and pressure.

The institutional reforms undertaken within the African Union will also contribute to the emergence of an anti-corruption culture, HM the King underlined.

On the issue of migration, Bourita announced that a decision will be taken on Monday for the installation in Morocco of the African Migration Observatory. Morocco will continue to increasingly present itself as a champion of African major causes in regard to development and migration and it is poised to join the top five contributors to the AU, which will further amplify its voice on the continent.

Morocco’s recent ascension to the African Union’s Peace and Security Council is an important indication of its rising influence on the African stage. The Moroccan Press Agency reported that the Peace and Security Council (PSC) of the African Union (AU) has endorsed the establishment of the African Migration Observatory, as proposed by King Mohammed VI, AU Champion for Migration, which aims mainly at collecting data, ensuring information exchange and coordination between African countries. This will further increase Morocco’s role as a key African interlocutor for European actors.

Said Temsamani

Said Temsamani is a Moroccan political observer and consultant, who follows events in his country and across North Africa. He is a member of Washington Press Club.

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