Sahara Press Service 31 January 2017
The African National Congress (ANC) expressed on Tuesday its regrets over the African Union’s decision to readmit Morocco into the organization, which represents an “important setback for the cause of the Saharawi people”.
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The ANC’s Statement follows:
Statement by the African National Congress on the readmission of the Kingdom of Morocco to the African Union (AU)
Edna Molewa, Chairperson: ANC NEC SubCommittee on International Relations, 31 January 2017
“The African National Congress (ANC) notes the regrettable decision of the African Union (AU) to readmit the Kingdom of Morocco to the organization.
The 54-member bloc voted overwhelmingly to readmit Morocco following a lengthy debate at the 28th AU Summit in the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa on Monday. Thirty-nine of the 54 states approved Morocco’s return to the AU.
This decision represents a significant setback to the cause of the Sahrawi people and their quest for self-determination and independence in the Western Sahara. The Western Sahara is one of Africa’s last remaining colonial outposts.
The ANC enjoys longstanding fraternal ties with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Saguia el-Hamra and Río de Oro (POLISARIO), and with the Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR).
The ANC notes that this decision paves the way for the Kingdom of Morocco to take their place amongst the community of nations and to enjoy the benefits of AU membership- whilst the Sahrawi people continue to suffer under an unjust occupation of their ancestral land.
By readmitting Morocco the AU is tacitly endorsing the longstanding occupation of the Western Sahara. Morocco has to date failed to comply with successive UN resolutions on the issue of the Western Sahara, most importantly the holding of a referendum on self-determination.
The ANC further notes that it was mainly countries led by former liberation movements on the continent, amongst them South Africa, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Mozambique as well as Botswana and Algeria – who opposed the decision. All of these countries have been active supporters of the rights of the Sahrawi people and their right to an independent homeland.
The ANC, whilst respecting the decision of the AU, hopes that in coming months the AU will not allow the matter of the independence of Western Sahara to be swept under the carpet of political expediency. Rather the quest for the self-determination by the people of Western Sahara takes centre stage on the AU agenda.