Rabat - Egypt welcomed a delegation from the self-proclaimed Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR) in Sharm El-Sheikh on Friday, according to reports from Al Jazeera Arabic news channel.
Rabat – Egypt welcomed a delegation from the self-proclaimed Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR) in Sharm El-Sheikh on Friday, according to reports from Al Jazeera Arabic news channel.
The Polisario delegation is participating in the Arab-African parliamentary congress, taking place in the Egyptian resort.
According to the same source, the Polisario delegation participated in several other activities held alongside the conference, using a banner displaying the name of the self-proclaimed republic.
The breakaway movement also met with a number of Presidents of the Arab and African parliaments, as well as with the President of the Egyptian parliament and several Egyptian members of parliament.
This is the first instance in which Egypt has welcomed the SADR in an official event.
At the time of writing, there has been no official reaction from the Moroccan government.
Analysts say this move will have a negative impact on the relations between Morocco and Egypt. Since Abdelfattah El Sissi took over as President following a military coup in July 2013, relations between the two capitals have been subject to much fluctuation.
The Egyptian move comes amid unprecedented tension between Egypt and the Gulf countries, especially Saudi Arabia, who are staunch Moroccan allies and support its position on the Western Sahara dispute.
Since his military coup, the Egyptian President has relied on Gulf money to bail out the ailing Egyptian economy. But this support has come to an end in recent weeks. The position held by Egypt with regards to Syria are at odds with the positions of countries such as Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, and have thus strained relations between Cairo and its Gulf backers.
As a member of the Security Council for 2016-2017, Egypt recently voted for Russian-sponsored UN Security Council resolution that allows Russia to continue its airstrikes on the Syrian city of Aleppo. Saudi Arabia reacted immediately to this Egypt’s decision and decided to stop its supply of crude oil to Egypt.
Analysts further suggest that the Egyptian move to welcome a Polisario delegation in Egypt is a further provocation for Saudi Arabia and the other Gulf countries, who have renewed their support to Morocco’s sovereignty over the Western Sahara during the General Debate of the UN General Assembly held in September in New York.
For Moroccan political analyst and professor at the university Ibn Zohr of Agadir, Reda Fellah, the move reveals “inconsistencies” in Egypt’s foreign policy, and its leaning towards Algeria’s stance on the Western Sahara dispute.
“The move revealed much inconsistency in Egypt’s foreign policy. This hostile move against Morocco is not surprising since Egypt is seemingly tempted by a close relationship with Algeria,” Fellah told Morocco World News.
“It’s more of a tactical move but it could have serious implications on relations between Morocco and Egypt,” he added.
The Egyptian move is also at odds with the position Cairo adopted during the diplomatic crisis between Morocco and the United Nations Secretariat in March and April, following the statement of Ban Ki-Moon in which he described Morocco’s sovereignty over the Western Sahara as occupation.
During the negotiations that preceded the adoption of the annual resolution of the Security Council to renew the mandate of the UN Mission in the Western Sahara (MINURSO), Egypt showed great support for Morocco.
However, three months later, Egypt refrained from signing the notion signed by 28 African other countries, who called on the African Union to suspend the SADR’s membership in the organization, as a first step to allow Morocco’s return to the Union.
Edited by Hinna Sheikh