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Decision Taken at 29th AU Summit on Western Sahara is Still Valid: AU Commission Chairperson

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AU Chairman Moussa Faki

Rabat – The Chairperson of the AU Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat, has assured African Union member nations that the organization’s official position on the Western Sahara conflict, which was decided in July 2017 at the 29th AU Summit, is “still valid.”

Mahamat made his remarks concerning the AU decision, later dubbed “653”, on the Western Sahara question at the conclusion yesterday of the 30th Summit of the African Heads of State and Government held in Addis Ababa.

The 653 decision “is still valid and continues to serve as the reference,” said Mahamat.

The decision made at the 29th AU summit calls on AU members to support UN efforts aimed at reaching a mutually acceptable solution to end the four-decade-long conflict over the Western Sahara.

The AU summit also commended the appointment last year of Horst Kohler as the Personal Envoy of the United Nations Secretary-General for Western Sahara.

The statement does not refer to any role or involvement on the part of the AU in these efforts, reported Maghreb Arab Press (MAP).

The decision “also makes no reference to any outdated plan, obsolete formula of solution or instrumentalized principle,” added Mahamat.

Morocco’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Nasser Bourita told the press at the end of the summit, that hat the 30th AU summit reiterated the validity of the resolution adopted by the organization at its 29th summit, held last July in Addis-Ababa, which urges the AU to support UN efforts to find a political solution to this issue.

This resolution “confirms the leadership of the United Nations to resolve this issue,” said the minister.

Elected in January 2017 as the chairman of the AU commission, Mahamat is following a balanced approach in addressing the Western Sahara issue, contrary to that of the former chairperson of the AU Commission, South Africa’s Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.

In a message to the 27th AU Summit held in July 2016 in Rwanda, King Mohammed VI has formally announced Morocco’s intent to reintegrate into the AU. While Morocco submitted a formal request to rejoin the AU after a 33-year absence, Zuma did not deliver Morocco’s request to other AU nations and no tangible progress was made throughout the last four months of 2016.

Subsequently, Morocco’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation denounced the actions carried out by the former AU Commission chairperson, stating that Zuma was trying to thwart Morocco’s request to regain its natural and legitimate position within its pan-African institutional family.

Several countries, including South Africa and Algeria, failed in their attempts to block Morocco from rejoining the organization in an attempt to force Morocco to recognize the self-proclaimed Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR).

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