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The African Ministerial Conference on the support of the AU to the UN Process on Sahara

 

The Kingdom of Morocco hosted on Monday, March 25, 2019 in Marrakech, the African Ministerial Conference on the support of the African Union to the United Nations political process on the regional dispute in the Sahara.

In this regard, the Kingdom of Morocco reiterated, once again, its absolute commitment to defend African from within the African Union, noting that Morocco the Kingdom, since its return to the African Union in 2017, has been contributing to the agenda of activities of the grouping, for the sake of unity and progress and not of divisions and frictions as some would insinuate.

In a speech addressed by the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Mr. Nasser Bourita, the Kingdom’s orientation is now pushing it to oppose any sterile debate exploiting the question of the Moroccan Sahara, and to condemn political manipulation and Manichean overbidding.

Highlighting that the continent has now reached a stage of maturity and that its responsibility is to provide it with the conditions of serenity, the Minister noted that Decision 693 adopted by the Heads of State and Government of the African Union in Nouakchott in July 2018 certainly helps to establish serenity in the AU's work.

In this regard, he recalled the position of the overwhelming majority of African countries, present at this event to reiterate their support of the political process within the United Nations. According to Mr. Bourita, decision 693 places the question of the Moroccan Sahara within its appropriate framework: that of the United Nations. It thus makes it possible to clean up the AU's work and immunize the Union against any inappropriate attempt to divert it from the path of unity and integration.

Therefore, this decisions preserves, according to the Minister, the cohesion of the organisation in the face of an issue that has always divided it. In this respect, he added that in order to avoid any ambiguity or misinterpretation, the following parameters are to be considered, notably the exclusivity of the United Nations in the search for the political solution, the Exclusion from any process parallel to that of the United Nations, the support of the efforts of the UNSG Personal Envoy to the Sahara and to bear in mind that the Troika, established within the African Union, is the instrument to affirm this support to this UN process.

Through this position, The Minister emphasises that the Kingdom does not seek to diminish Africa’s role, but rather to give leadership to the continent. However, he underlined that there is no leadership without unity. Indeed, Leadership, according to Mr. Bourita, cannot be built by reproducing the mistakes of the past, in reference to the divisions of the late 1970’s and early 1980’s at the African Union.

By taking part in this Conference, the African countries place themselves in respect for the UN process, in the confidence of the institutions empowered to deal with the Sahara issue, and in conformity with the legitimacy of international legality. In fact, the African countries having taken part to this event have agreed to implement the "wise and concerted vision" of the heads of State and government, enshrined at the 31st AU Summit held in July 2018 in Nouakchott, which reaffirms the exclusivity of the UN in seeking a political solution to this issue.

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Declaration of the African Ministerial Conference on the African Union’s support to the United Nations political process on the regional dispute over the Sahara

We, the African States, members of the African Union:

Republic of Angola, Republic of Benin, Burkina Faso, Republic of Burundi, Republic of Cabo Verde, Republic of Cameroon, Central African Republic, Republic of Chad, Union of the Comoros, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Republic of the Congo, Republic of Côte d’Ivoire, Republic of Djibouti, Kingdom of Eswatini, Federal Democratic of Ethiopia, Gabonese Republic, Republic of the Gambia, Republic of Ghana, Republic of Guinea, Republic of Guinea-Bissau, Republic of Liberia, State of Libya, Republic of Madagascar, Republic of Malawi, Kingdom of Morocco, Republic of the Niger, Federal Republic of Nigeria, Republic of Rwanda, Democratic Republic of Sao Tomé and Principe, Republic of Senegal, Republic of Sierra Leone, Federal Republic of Somalia, Republic of South Sudan, Republic of the Sudan, United Republic of Tanzania, Republic of Tunisia and Republic of Zambia

- Meeting on March 25th 2019 in Marrakech, at the African Ministerial Conference on the African Union’s support to the United Nations political process on the regional dispute over the Sahara;

- Recognizing the imperative of consolidating unity, gathering and converging our efforts to achieve the Africa We Want;

- Committed to the strategic choice of our Heads of State and Government to overcome the causes of division, cleavage, and fragmentation that threaten the unity of our Continent;

- Aware of the urgent need for our Continent to address priority issues, including sustainable human development, African integration, and the prosperity of our citizens, in line with the agenda 2063 ;

Have agreed to:

1. Reaffirm our unwavering commitment to a united, stable, proactive and prosperous Africa, speaking with one voice and able to respond to the multidimensional challenges of today's and tomorrow's complex world;

2. Implement the wise and concerted vision of our Heads of State and Government, enshrined at the 31st Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the Union, held on 1st and 2nd July 2018 in Nouakchott (Mauritania), regarding the regional dispute over the Sahara;

3. Welcome, in this regard, the unanimous adoption of decision Assembly/AU/Dec.693 (XXXI), on the report of the Chairperson of the AU Commission on the Sahara issue, which reaffirms the exclusivity of the United Nations as the framework for seeking a mutually acceptable, realistic, pragmatic and lasting political solution to the Sahara issue;

4. Preserve the spirit and letter of decision 693, which is the result of extensive consultations with the Chairperson of the Commission and of the healthy consensus of our Heads of State and Government, taking into account its founding role in restoring serenity in the work of the African Union;

5. Welcome the establishment, by decision 693, of the AU Troika Mechanism, composed of the outgoing, current and incoming Presidents of our Union, as well as the Chairperson of the AU Commission, to provide effective support to the efforts led by the United Nations;

6. Reaffirm our commitment to a constructive and effective implementation of the mandate of the AU Troika to protect, support and preserve the integrity of the ongoing political process within the exclusive framework of the United Nations, under the supervision of the Security Council and under the auspices of the Secretary General, with a view to achieving "a political, realistic, pragmatic and lasting solution to the Sahara issue based on compromise" (OP.2 of UN Security Council Resolution 2440);

7. Support the specific mandate conferred by Decision 693 on the AU Troika, with the exclusion of any African Union organ at any level, in order to keep abreast of developments in the political process conducted within the framework of the United Nations on the Sahara issue;

8. Stress that the Troika's support for the United Nations political process must be protected from any interference, intervention, or non-consensual actions likely to compete with the efforts of the Secretary General of the United Nations and his Personal Envoy, compromise the cohesion of the Union, or develop a parallel process likely to foster division among its Member States;

9. Highlight the positive impact of Decision 693 on the functioning of the AU, the cohesion of its members, and the implementation of its agenda and priorities, including a calm and peaceful conduct of the African Union partnership processes;

10. Emphasize that the consensual and consolidated formula of decision Assembly/AU/Dec.635 (XXVIII), adopted at the 28th Session of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the Union, held on January 30th and 31st 2017 in Addis Ababa, on the representation of Africa by the Troika, namely the current, incoming and outgoing Chairpersons of the African Union, the Chairperson of the AU Commission, the Chairperson of the AU Commission, and the Chairpersons of the Regional Economic Communities as well as the Chairperson of the NEPAD, extended to the members of the Bureau of the Union, constitutes a realistic solution to the question of the format of participation in the African Union partnership processes and meetings ;

11. Consider that any initiative aimed at undermining the content of Decision 635 may undermine the credibility of the partnership processes and their contribution to the achievement of the development objectives of Our Continent;

12. Warmly welcome the constructive initiative of the Kingdom of Morocco to convene this Conference, which demonstrates its support for the implementation of decision 693;

13. Thank the delegations of the African States, members of the African Union, attending the African Ministerial Conference on the African Union’s support to the United Nations political process on the regional dispute over the Sahara.

Adopted in Marrakech, March 25th 2019