Rabat – For the first time in history, King Mohammed VI has been captured in pictures alongside the self-proclaimed Polisario leader, Brahim Ghali, during the opening session of the EU-AU summit today in Abidjan.
This encounter between the King of Morocco and the self-proclaimed leader of Sahrawi separatist front is the second of its kind. Their first encounter took place on January 31, when the Sovereign delivered a speech during Morocco’s return to the African Union.
The arrival of King Mohammed VI to Abidjan was “exceptionally welcomed” by the Ivorian president Alassane Dramane Ouattara, who was accompanied by the First Lady of Côte d’Ivoire Dominique Claudine Ouattara. Meanwhile, Algerian Press Service reported that Ghali was greeted by two Ivorian ministers who do not actually exist.
In an interview with Spanish news agency EFE on the sidelines of the summit, Bourita said that the so-called Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic “does not exist and will never do so for [Morocco].”
He told the agency that “the current trend is that countries do not recognize SADR. Do you know of any country that recently recognized it? If not, I can tell you who withdrew it, like Malawi.”
The days of Morocco’s empty seat policy during the African summits attended by Saharawi separatists are over. During the 5th EU-AU Summit, the kingdom is facing the Polisario Front head on, with King Mohammed VI leading the a senior Moroccan delegation.
At Cross Purposes
While King Mohammed VI was speaking to French President Emmanuel Macron, Ahmed Ouyahya, the Prime Minister of Algeria, walked up to the the Moroccan monarch and shook his hand, a seemingly contradictory move, particularly as it was Algeria that pushed the uninvited Polisario and its separatist agenda into the continental gathering.
The lead-up to this year’s summit saw Algeria make efforts to impose Polisario and its self-proclaimed SADR as a participant.
SADR did not take part in previous conferences, but the entity recently cried out for its “right” to participate in the event as a member of the AU, after the forum, originally called the “EU-Africa” summit, was renamed the “EU-AU” summit.
The announcement of SADR’s impending participation in the conference was made in September by Algeria’s notorious ambassador to Brussels, Amar Belani.