Algeria’s state media have once again shared fabricated “facts” on the Western Sahara issue, in a mediocre attempt to mislead the new US President, Joe Biden.
In a report published on January 23, Algeria’s Press Service (APS) claimed that the self-proclaimed Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR) is recognized by the UN, the International Court of Justice, and the Court of Justice of the EU.
The report cited an undisclosed letter from 45 academics and jurists to Biden, asking him to reverse the decision of former US President Donald Trump to recognize Morocco’s sovereignty over Western Sahara.
Without providing any information on the letter or the academics and jurists it claims signed it, the article claims the letter supports the Sahrawi population’s right to self-determination.
“You know very well that Western Sahara is recognized as a state by the UN, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) and the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU), and in accordance with a broad consensus of international jurists” the letter claimed, as quoted by APS.
This single sentence contains three fabricated “facts,” presented in a way that underestimates Biden’s knowledge of the Western Sahara issue.
First, the UN does not recognize the self-styled SADR as a state. Instead, it considers the geographical region of Western Sahara as a non-self-governing territory.
Second, the International Court of Justice, as a UN organ, also does not recognize any state in Western Sahara region. The court only provides advisory opinions on the issue.
Finally, the Court of Justice of the EU, has never mentioned the existence of the self-proclaimed SADR.
In some of its recent rulings, the EU’s judicial branch pleaded in favor of self-determination in Western Sahara. However, the principle of self-determination does not contradict Morocco’s Autonomy Plan in the region, it is a key element of it.
Morocco’s autonomy initiative seeks to allow populations in Western Sahara to enjoy self-determination through making the region semi-autonomous, under Moroccan sovereignty.
This means that the local population would independently manage socio-economic and political issues, while the central Moroccan government would remain responsible for matters of national interest, such as defense and foreign relations.
After falsely presenting the SADR as an internationally-recognized independent state, the APS report made another fabricated allegation when it claimed that the UN supports a self-determination referendum in the region.
“The Sahrawi people should exercise their right to self-determination and independence, through the organization of a free and transparent referendum, as stipulated in the decisions of the UN,” the report said.
The UN Security Council, however, has not mentioned a referendum as an option since 2001. Moreover, since 2007, the council has regularly welcomed Morocco’s Autonomy Plan as a “serious and credible solution” to the Western Sahara issue.
The APS report concluded by urging President Biden to revoke his predecessor’s decision, because “the status quo damages the reputation of the United States.”
Despite Algeria’s desperate attempts to mislead the new US administration, experts believe that Biden will not reverse the American recognition of Morocco’s territorial integrity.