On June 26, Morocco inaugurated the Ivory Coast honorary consulate in Laayoune. Polisario supporters see Ivory Coast’s presence as a breach of international rights.
Rabat – The Ivory Coast honorary consulate will promote diplomatic ties between Morocco and the African state, covering in particular the regions of Laayoune-Sakia El Hanra and Dakhla-Oued Addahab.
“Thanks to the opening of the honorary consulate in Laayoune, the multidimensional relationships with Morocco will intensify,” stated Idrissa Traore, the ambassador of the Ivory Coast to Morocco.
“Beyond traditional bilateral relationships, the Ivory Coast and Morocco also have a strategic partnership,” Traore added. Over the past several years, the two countries have entered into a number of political and economic agreements.
Since 2014, 120 bilateral projects have been undertaken in Ivory Coast across the sectors of education, transport, finance, industry, fishing, and agriculture. These include the rehabilitation of the commercial Cocody Bay, works on the 25,000 m2 Mohammed VI mosque in Treichville, Abidjan, and a number of other infrastructure projects.
The new Honorary Consul for the Ivory Coast Mohamed El Imam Maelainine, stated that the consulate “will play an important role as a human, fraternal and cultural link between the two countries.”
The inauguration of the honorary consulate in Laayoune comes as the international community continues to debate the status of the region in Western Sahara.
On the question of Western Sahara, the Ambassador reiterated Ivory Coast’s unwavering support for Morocco’s position on the dispute.
“On this matter, Ivory Coast has been and always will be with Morocco. For us, peace will come through the respect of Morocco’s territorial integrity,” Traore emphasized.
The Western Sahara conflict is an ongoing dispute between the Polisario Front and the Kingdom of Morocco, over a territory including the city of Laayoune.
Under its “Autonomy Plan”, Morocco proposes that Western Sahara operate as an autonomous region, maintaining Morocco’s territorial integrity.
States such as Namibia and South Africa support the Polisario Front on this matter, while a growing majority of countries support Morocco.
In response to the inauguration of the honorary consulate in Laayoune, Sahraoui website Future-Sahara called for “measures to be taken at the African Union level to require [Ivory Coast] to respect the exceptional status of Western Sahara.”
The media communicates the response of a Sahraoui blogger on social media: “the decision taken by the Republic of Ivory Coast to open a consulate in Laayoune constitutes a clear violation of the rules of international law and an obstacle to peace.”
The leader of the Polisario Front Brahim Ghali has not yet responded to the matter.