South Africa and Algeria are the primary opponents of Morocco’s territorial integrity.
Rabat – Algeria and South Africa continue to regurgitate their anti-Moroccan rhetoric, undermining Morocco’s territorial integrity during speeches to the 75th session of the UN General Assembly.
Regardless of the context, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa never fails to reiterate his position on Western Sahara when delivering statements to international audiences.
Echoing his Africa Day speech in May, Ramaphosa grouped Israel’s occupation of Palestine in with Morocco’s post-colonial struggle to resecure sovereignty over its southern provinces.
Ramaphosa said in May: “As Africans, we will continue to stand on the side of justice and support the people of Western Sahara in their enduring struggle for freedom and self-determination. We also call for the end of the oppression of the Palestinian people and the occupation of their homeland.”
In his statement to the UN General Assembly on Tuesday, Ramaphosa similarly called for “an end to the illegal occupation of Western Sahara and for the Palestinian people’s right to self-determination,” as well as for an end to the US’ embargo of Cuba.
Ramaphosa reiterated support for the self-styled Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic’s (SADR) independence claims after broadly denouncing corruption, racism, gender-based violence, and human rights infringements.
South Africa and Algeria are the primary opponents of Morocco’s territorial integrity. The Algerian president, despite insisting earlier this week that Algeria “has no problems” with Morocco, parroted Ramaphosa in his own statement to the UN General Assembly on Wednesday.
President Abdelmadjid Tebboune called on the UN to expedite the organization of a referendum for the “self-determination” of the SADR.
Tebboune “regrets” the obstacles the Western Sahara issue is facing, noting the suspension of negotiations “between the parties to the conflict” and refusing to acknowledge Algeria’s role as one of these parties. He also expressed dismay at the delay in appointing a new UN envoy to the territory.
Like Ramaphosa, Tebboune linked Western Sahara to Israel’s illegal occupation of Palestine, demanding independence for both Palestinians and Sahrawis.
The General Assembly statements are the latest insults to Morocco from Algeria and South Africa.
Even more, Tebboune’s remarks add to the egregious contradictions he espoused during an interview on Sunday.
Claiming Algiers has no problem with Rabat, Tebboune suggested Morocco is to blame for the two countries’ perceived rift: “If in Morocco they think there is a problem, let them come and say it.”
The Algerian president insisted that Western Sahara should not be the cause of a diplomatic conflict between the two neighbors. Western Sahara, he said, is a matter of “decolonization.”
Algeria’s diplomatic and financial support for the militant Polisario Front separatist group, however, is a direct attack on Moroccan sovereignty.
Although King Mohammed VI invited the president, upon his election in December 2019, to turn a new page in Rabat-Algiers relations, Tebboune seems more interested in making incendiary remarks and slighting any diplomatic outreach from Morocco.