South Africa continues to be among the shrinking list of African countries that challenge Morocco’s sovereignty over Western Sahara.
Rabat – South Africa’s Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Naledi Pandor said earlier this week that she hopes to see the new US President Joe Biden “reverse” former president Donald Trump’s proclamation on Western Sahara and Morocco-US relations.
On December 10, Trump announced the decision to recognize Morocco’s sovereignty over Western Sahara.
The decision angered Polisario supporters, who described it as a “violation” of the UN-led political process.
Amid the debate about whether the new US administration will undo recent developments in Western Sahara, Algeria and South Africa were the only countries to have ardently embraced and promoted the Polisario Front’s independence claims.
Both Algiers and Pretoria issued statements after Trump made his Western Sahara announcement. They strongly condemned the decision and expressed their hopes for support from Biden’s administration to the Polisario claims.
In December, Pandor said the US move is “illegal.”
“It is essentially the recognition of an illegality,” said South Africa’s top diplomat.
Pandor’s hostile remarks against Morocco’s sovereignty over Western Sahara are in line with Algerian approach and maneuvers.
After Morocco gained support from dozens of African countries, South Africa expressed frustration in different press releases to oppose Morocco’s recent diplomatic gains.
Pretoria’s frustration followed the decision of several countries to open consulates in Laayoune and Dakhla, in Morocco’s southern provinces.
Most recently Haiti and Bahrain opened consulates in the region, joining a growing list of countries supporting the Moroccanness of the region.
Haiti opened the consulate in Dakhla, while Bahrain opened a consulate in Laayoune. And with the US expected to soon open a consulate in the region, a number of analysts and Morocco watchers suggest that many more countries may follow in the US’ footsteps.
As the Polisario Front’s most vocal backers, Algeria and South Africa are desperate to see the new US administration change the newfound US position on the Sahara conflict.
However, many political analysts believe that Biden will not disrupt the new US position on Western Sahara.
In an interview aired on January 20, foreign policy expert and Morocco world News co-founder Samir Bennis told Al Oula TV channel that Joe Biden will not make any move that might harm Morocco’s interests.
Bennis reassured that a reversal of the freshly-officialized US position is highly unlikely. He emphasized that the new administration will not make any move that would negatively impact Morocco-US relations.