President of the Republic, Secretary General of the Polisario Front, Brahim Ghali, on Tuesday called on the African Union (AU) to play a leading role and assume its historical responsibilities in accordance with its principles which confer on the Saharawi people the right to independence and self-determination.
In his address to the meeting of the Peace and Security Council of the African Union (PSC) on Western Sahara, held by videoconference, President Ghali called on Heads of State and Government, “to actively contribute to the establishment of peace between the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR) and its neighbor, Morocco, on the basis of respect for borders, non-acquisition of territories by force, respect for the sovereignty of member states, unity and territorial integrity of their territories and the right of African peoples, without discrimination, to self-determination, independence and sovereignty”.
“We place the AU before its responsibility and its duty toward this African question. To say that the Union should not play a leading role in the Western Sahara issue, alongside the United Nations, is a declaration that contradicts historical truth and contradicts the AU’s responsibility to defend its principles and objectives,” he stressed.
For President Ghali, the AU is not only a partner of the United Nations in the peace process, but rather a body that has worked for many years and made hard efforts that led to the approval of Resolution 104 of 1983, which laid the foundations for the UN settlement plan adopted in 1991 which provides for a referendum on self-determination.
The Sahrawi leader further mentioned that the continental organization has been subjected, on several occasions, to irresponsible actions on the part of the Kingdom of Morocco, such as the expulsion of the African partner component of the United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO).
“The absence of a firm stance” on the part of the UN or the AU, he said, has encouraged “Morocco to continue to underestimate the continental organization, openly seeking to empty it of its duty, responsibility and capacity to complete the decolonization of the continent and resolve African problems”, such as the Western Sahara conflict.
In his speech, on the occasion, the Sahrawi president deplored the resumption, since November 13, 2020, of armed confrontation in Western Sahara, following an aggression by Moroccan forces in El Guerguerat. He also denounced the occupation by Morocco of new parts of the territory of the SADR, in blatant violation of the ceasefire agreement signed by both parties, Sahrawi and Moroccan, thirty years ago.
He recalled in this context, that the international community as a whole (the United Nations, the African Union, the International Court of Justice, the European Court of Justice and others) recognizes the legal status of Western Sahara and Morocco, two separate and distinct territories.
President Ghali stressed that the Saharawi people were again forced, as happened on October 31, 1975, during the illegal Moroccan military invasion of Western Sahara, to resort to the defense of themselves and their right to armed struggle, as a legitimate means guaranteed by international conventions. As such, he holds the Kingdom of Morocco responsible “for this new escalation and the threat it poses to peace and stability in the region, due to its continued obstruction of the implementation of the settlement plan (OAU / UN), its flagrant violation of the ceasefire agreement, its colonial policies and practices aimed at legalizing the occupation, its gross violations of human rights and its plundering of the wealth belonging to the Sahrawis”.
The Sahrawi President recalled on the occasion that the African leaders, when they welcomed the application of the Kingdom of Morocco to join the African Union in 2017, did not fail to explain that this is aimed at strengthening the capacity of the African Union to find African solutions to African problems, and to provide an opportunity to unite our countries and peoples around the fundamental African values of its founders, namely, solidarity, unity, freedom and equality, in accordance with the principles and objectives of the AU Constitutive Act.
However, noted the Sahrawi president, that after more than four years, “no progress has been made in this direction, but rather a continuation of the Kingdom of Morocco in its intransigence and its flagrant violation of the Constitutive Act of the African Union. Aggression, acquisition of territories by force and disrespect for the borders of member states (…)”.
“We turn to you to do justice to the Sahrawi people, who have taken seriously the efforts of the international community to decolonize the last colony in Africa, and who have placed their full confidence in regional and international bodies, which have the responsibility to defend international legitimacy,” he said, addressing the participants.
Finally, he called for the “speedy implementation” of AU decisions, including the decision of the extraordinary summit on the theme: “Silencing the weapons” held in December 2020″, while reaffirming “the full readiness of the SADR to implement this resolution”.