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Western Sahara Dispute Must Be Solved in New York, Not Addis Ababa: Bourita

AU Accepts Morocco’s Request to Join Consultative Group of Foreign Ministers
Morocco's Minister of Foreign Affairs Nasser Bourita at the 31st AU Summit, in Nouakchott

Rabat – The Moroccan Minister of Foreign Affairs, Nasser Bourita, reiterated Morocco’s firm stance on Western Sahara Monday, emphasizing that the dispute must be resolved within the scope of the UN and not the African Union.

Bourita, who represented King Mohammed VI during the June 30-July1 31st African Union Summit for Heads of State in Nouakchott, said that the “resolution of the Sahara conflict is in New York and not in Addis Ababa.” 

In a press briefing held on the sidelines of the summit, Bourita stressed that there is only one body that has the rights to help solve the 4-decade-long conflict: the UN.

“And it is also the only one recognized by the African Union,” added Bourita.

Throughout the years of the ongoing conflict, the Algerian-backed Polisario Front has long sought for members of the African Union to intervene in the conflict over Western Sahara. However, Chairperson of the AU Commission Moussa Faki Mahamat broke away from previous rhetoric on the conflict, expressing full support for the UN-led political process to bring it to an end.

The chairperson, who took the AU office in July 2017, presented the AU’s recent report that the pan-African organization will withhold any decision that is not compatible with the political process initiated followed the adoption of UN Security Council Resolution 1754 in April 2007.

The report defined the role of the AU in the conflict, emphasizing that the African organization is to “support and to accompany the UN efforts,” and the UN Security Council is the only body that has the legitimate power to monitor the region and commit the parties of the conflict to negotiation terms.

The document further expressed its satisfaction with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and his Personal Envoy Horst Köhler, recalling the round of discussions held with the parties to the conflict.

The report also stressed that all parties, without any exception, showed interest in being involved in new rounds of negotiations.

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