With Burundi and Djibouti opening consulates in southern Morocco, the number of diplomatic representations in the region climbs to nine.
Rabat – The dynamic of opening diplomatic representations in Morocco’s southern provinces will continue at a sustained pace “despite the pressure, statements, and recalling of ambassadors,” said the Moroccan Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita.
Bourita made the statement on Friday, February 28, following the opening of a Burundian consulate in the city of Laayoune, Western Sahara.
Support for the Moroccan identity of the Sahara is constantly growing and comes from all African regions, said the minister.
The constant support is proof of the credibility of Morocco’s position on the Western Sahara conflict, he added, explaining that the Kingdom bases its position on international law and on the resolutions of the UN Security Council.
“Unfortunately, a lonely state is at odds with this position, which shows its involvement and direct responsibility in this issue,” said Bourita.
“This country has made the Sahara issue the number one priority of its diplomacy,” he continued.
Algeria escalates hostility
Bourita’s speech hinted at Algeria’s recent acts challenging Morocco’s territorial integrity. In recent months, the Algerian regime has stepped up its opposition to Morocco’s sovereignty over Western Sahara.
On January 26, Algeria decided to boycott the African FUTSAL tournament, taking place in Laayoune. The Algerian Football Federation addressed a hostile letter to the tournament’s organizers, CAF, to oppose Morocco’s decision to host the tournament in “disputed territory.”
However, the international football organization FIFA and the continental CAF both expressed support for Morocco and its decision. The Moroccan national FUTSAL team ended up winning the title and lifting the trophy on the soil of Laayoune.
During the inauguration ceremony, the Ivorian Minister for African Integration, Ally Coulibaly, described his country’s decision as “sovereign.”
“In foreign policy, as in other fields, we are careful not to give moral lessons, nor do we want to be told what to do or not to do,” said the minister in a speech, implicitly referencing the Algerian pressure on his country.
In its most recent move against Morocco’s interests, Algeria postponed a visit of the Spanish Foreign Minister Arancha González Laya from February 26 to March 4.
The Algerian decision came only one day after González Laya made her country’s position on the Western Sahara issue clear. Spain supports the UN-led process to solve the conflict.
The Spanish FM made the statement after the Spanish party Podemos met with a Polisario delegation. The actions of political parties do not determine the government’s official stance, she affirmed.
The projects launched under the Kingdom’s development plan for Western Sahara reinforce its sovereignty over the region and the international recognition of the Sahara’s “Moroccaness,” emphasized Bourita.
The main illustration of international recognition is the opening of diplomatic representations in Laayoune and Dakhla. The inaugurations are sovereign decisions by African states and are in accordance with international legality, he stressed.
Burundi and Djibouti both opened diplomatic representations on Friday, in Laayoune and Dakhla respectively. The inaugurations bring the number of consulates in Western Sahara up to nine.
The Comoros, Côte d’Ivoire, Sao Tome and Principe, Gabon, the Central African Republic, and Burundi opened consulates in Laayoune. Meanwhile, Gambia, Guinea, and Djibouti have all inaugurated diplomatic representations in Dakhla.