African ministers support UN process to resolve Sahara dispute

The African Ministerial Conference on the regional dispute over the Sahara, has backed the African Union’s (AU’s) decision to support the United Nations (UN) framework for pursuing a mutually acceptable and pragmatic resolution.

AU’s Decision 693, which was adopted at the 31st AU Summit in July 2018 in Nouakchott, Mauritania, puts the Western Sahara dispute back into its appropriate framework of using the UN political process for resolution.

The conference, which was held on Monday in Marrakech, Morocco, welcomed “the unanimous adoption of Decision 693 (XXXI), on the report of the Chairperson of the AU Commission on the Sahara issue, reaffirms exclusivity of the UN as the framework for seeking mutually acceptable, realistic, pragmatic and lasting political solution to the Sahara issue”.

Attended by ministers from 40 countries from the five sub-regions of the continent, the conference supported the specific mandate conferred by Decision 693 on the AU Troika, with exclusion of any AU organ at any level.

“The Troika’s support for the UN political process must be protected from any interference, intervention, or non-consensual actions likely to compete with efforts of the Secretary General of the UN and his personal envoy, compromise the cohesion of the union, or develop a parallel process likely to foster division among its member states,” the conference said in a communiqué.

It highlighted the positive impact of Decision 693 on functioning of the AU, cohesion of members, implementation of its agenda and priorities, including calm and peaceful conduct of AU partnership processes.

 “Recognising the imperative of consolidating unity, gathering, converging our efforts to achieve the Africa we want, reaffirm our commitment to constructive, effective implementation of mandate of the AU Troika to protect, support, preserve integrity of the ongoing political process within the exclusive framework of the UN.

 “Under the supervision of the Security Council and under the auspices of the Secretary General, with a view to achieving political, realistic, pragmatic and lasting solution to the Sahara issue based on compromise.

“Aware of the urgent need for our continent to address priority issues, including sustainable human development, African integration, prosperity of citizens, in line with agenda 2063, the conference considered any initiative aimed at undermining content of Decision 635 may undermine credibility of the partnership processes.   

“The conference lauded the constructive initiative of the Kingdom of Morocco to convene, which demonstrates its support for the implementation of decision 693,” the communiqué said.

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