Several African countries have decided to open consulates in the Moroccan cities of Laayoune and Dakhla in Western Sahara, upsetting the self-proclaimed SADR and its supporters.
Rabat – Following the opening of a Comorian consulate in Laayoune, a city in the Western Sahara region of southern Morocco, the Algerian government expressed its disapproval of the act on Thursday, December 19.
“This measure of exceptional gravity represents a flagrant violation of the norms of international law… It represents an attack on the rules and principles that should govern inter-African relations,” said the Algerian Foreign Ministry in a press release relayed by the Algerian press agency.
The decision “constitutes an unacceptable precedent for undermining the principles governing the status of non-autonomous territories whose peoples have not yet practiced their right to self-determination in accordance with the doctrines of the UN and the African Union,” adds the official document.
The ministry’s publication came on the first workday of Algeria’s new president, Abdelmadjid Tebboune.
As early as his inauguration ceremony, Tebboune expressed Algiers’ stance on the Western Sahara conflict. In his speech, the new president described the issue as “a question of decolonization.”
On the same day, the chairman of the Algerian National Committee for Solidarity with the Sahrawi People, Said Layachi, expressed Algeria’s “unwavering support for the Sahrawi cause and the struggle of the Sahrawi people for freedom and independence.”
The Comoros opened a consulate in Laayoune on December 18, with an inauguration ceremony chaired by Morocco’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Nasser Bourita and his Comorian counterpart.
During the ceremony, Bourita announced that at least four more African countries will open consulates in Laayoune in 2020. He also recalled Gambia’s decision to open a consulate in the Moroccan city of Dakhla, also in Western Sahara.
Bourita explained that opening diplomatic representations in Morocco’s southern provinces will “strengthen the vocation of the region as the gateway to Morocco on the African continent.”
The consulates will also reinforce economic and commercial cooperation between Morocco and other African countries, added the minister.
“The opening of the consulate is an event of great significance [as it answers] the question of the Moroccaness of [the Western] Sahara,” said Bourita.