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Sahara Issue No Longer on African Union’s Table, Morocco’s FM

Moroccan Foreign Affairs Minister Nasser Bourita said on Tuesday that the issue of the Sahara is no longer on the table of the African Union (AU), pointing out that the 37th AU Summit, the supreme body of the pan-African institution, did not make any references or citations regarding the national question of the Sahara during its proceedings.

“Since Morocco’s return to the AU and the unanimous adoption of Decision 693 on the Sahara issue during the Nouakchott Summit in 2018, the matter is no longer under AU consideration,” noted Bourita.

Decision 693, adopted at the Nouakchott Summit in 2018, emphasized the exclusive competence of the United Nations on the national question of the Sahara.

The Minister highlighted that no reports from the 37th AU Summit mentioned or referenced the Sahara issue. The speeches of the AU Presidency and the Union Commission did not address the matter, emphasizing that the issue falls exclusively under the jurisdiction of the United Nations.

The 37th AU Summit occurred amidst various strategic initiatives launched in recent months to address challenges faced by the African continent. Bourita highlighted the Royal initiative on the African Atlantic coast, targeting development, peace, and stability in the region. Another initiative aims to provide access to the Atlantic Ocean for Sahel countries, addressing security and economic challenges in the Sahel region.

Bourita also emphasized that these initiatives reflect a shift from focusing on artificial conflicts to a constructive and realistic approach. The initiatives seek to create a new mindset on the continent by addressing challenges through inclusive solutions rather than relying solely on military and exclusionary measures.

The Summit provided an opportunity to present these royal initiatives and reaffirm others presented by King Mohammed VI.

“Morocco’s initiative in the area of health and food security through the African Agriculture Adaptation (AAA) Initiative presented on the sidelines of COP22 in Marrakech, as well as the three Climate Commissions set up at the Sovereign’s initiative to tackle climate change in the Sahel, the Congo Basin and the African island states, were also highlighted during this Session,” the Minister added.

The summit saw Morocco’s presidency of the Peace and Security Council for February, as well as the presentation by the Kingdom on behalf of the member countries of the Council of the report on the state of peace and security in Africa (January-December, 2023). The Summit also was marked by the inauguration of a fountain gifted by Morocco to the African Union.

During the summit, the official reiterated Morocco’s commitment to African development, emphasizing that peace, security, and development go hand-in-hand. He also affirmed Morocco’s firm position on the Palestinian cause, supporting a peaceful two-state solution for lasting peace in the Middle East.