Egypt denied on Saturday that it intends to open a diplomatic representation in Western Sahara, refuting rumours relayed by Moroccan media.
“Egypt’s position remains unchanged on the western Sahara issue and it is aligned with UN resolutions calling for a referendum allowing Sahrawis the choice to be under Moroccan rule or regain their independence,” Rokha Hassan, a member of the Egyptian Council for Foreign Affairs (ECFA), told the Washington-based news website Al-Monitor.
“Egypt has not expressed any intention regarding this territory,” said the member of ECFA, an organization under the Egyptian foreign ministry.
He questioned the relevance of the articles published in the Moroccan press that spoke of planned opening of an Egyptian consulate in El Aaiun, in the Sahrawi territories.
In an article published on 21 December, “Moroccan website 360 announced that Egyptian President Abdel Fatah Al-Sisi had announced his intention to send his Foreign Minister, Sameh Shoukry to Rabat, where he is supposed to coordinate the opening of an Egyptian consulate in Western Sahara with his Moroccan counterpart, Nacer Bourita,” reported Al-Monitor. This information categorically denied by Mr. Rokha.
The opening of consulates in Western Sahara is a way of recognising Morocco’s alleged sovereignty over the territory, despite the fact that the United Nations had adopted resolutions calling for a referendum on self-determination to enable the Saharawi people to decide their future.
On December 10, outgoing U.S. President Donald Trump announced the recognition of alleged Moroccan sovereignty over Western Sahara in return for the normalization of relations between Morocco and Israel.
The announcement was made a little less than a month after the resumption of armed clashes, on 13 November 2020, between the Moroccan army and the Polisario Front, the representative of the Saharawi people.
On 24 December, Italy and Portugal also denied the content of an article published in the Spanish online magazine EL Espanol, which lent these two states the intention of opening diplomatic representations in the Saharawi territories. Like Egypt, these two countries have pledged to support the efforts of the United Nations in the resolution of the conflict.