The Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic has appealed to the African Union (AU) to oppose Morocco’s bid to become part of the organisation again in the same way that the continental body opposed apartheid.
Foreign minister Mohamed SalekOuldSalek told journalists on the sidelines of the AU summit on Friday that the AU’s predecessor the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) had “always fought for the eradication of apartheid and all forms of colonialism on the continent in accordance with the relevant OAU/AU constitutive instruments, decisions and resolutions”.
He said the Western Sahara was one of the last countries on the continent that still had to be decolonised.
“Morocco is the occupying force of this last African colony and should therefore be treated as such.”
He compared Morocco’s policy towards Western Sahara to that of the apartheid regime in South Africa and Namibia.
Morocco withdrew from the AU in 1984 because it supported the Western Sahara’s independence, and Morocco’s formal bid to accede to the body is set to be discussed at the assembly of heads of state on Monday and Tuesday.
At least 50% of the AU member countries agreed to this item being put on the agenda, but it would need a two-thirds vote or consensus for a decision on this to pass.
One of the options that could be proposed is a committee to review Morocco’s bid as well as the current issues faced by Western Sahara.
A South African official at the AU told News24 that South Africa would strongly oppose Morocco’s bid to return to the AU.
The president of the Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic, Brahim Ghali, paid a visit to President Jacob Zuma earlier this month to lobby his support on the matter.
Ghali also attended the ANC’s birthday celebrations.
Zuma said it was “unfathomable” that the Western Sahara was still colonised by Morocco.
Western Sahara is a disputed territory bordered by Morocco and Algeria and has been under de facto control by Morocco since 1991, backed by the United States and France.