Moussa Faki Mahamat proposes an “African mechanism” to help resolve the conflict in Western Sahara

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Pierre Boisselet – Special Envoy to Nouakchott –

African Union Commission Chairman Moussa Faki Mahamat on Sunday presented a long-awaited report on the conflict between Morocco and the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR) in Nouakchott. He advocated the creation of an African mechanism that, however, would not replace the efforts of the United Nations.

It was probably the most anticipated document of the 31st African Union (AU) summit, which was presented this Sunday, July 1, in Nouakchott. Commission President Moussa Faki Mahamat presented a seven-page report to the delegations present to relaunch the peace process between Morocco and the Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic. This text should be studied on Sunday, July 1.

It is based on a series of interviews conducted in recent months. On the one hand, with the King of Morocco, Mohammed VI, and his Foreign Minister (in Rabat, 5-6 June); on the other hand, with the President of the SADR, Brahim Ghali, and his Foreign Minister (in Tindouf, June 19 and 20). But also with Algerian Prime Minister Ahmed Ouyahia and his foreign minister (11-12 March) and with Mauritanian President Mohamed Ould Abdelaziz at the end of March.

Threat to the functioning of the UA

“The conflict in Western Sahara has gone on for too long,” the report notes. It has entered a phase where, in addition to the negative effects well known at regional level (…), it also threatens the functioning of the AU and makes it difficult to implement its agenda. Such a state of affairs can not be tolerated. ”

The Chairperson of the AU Commission therefore proposes that Africa be involved in this process. To this end, he proposes the creation of an African mechanism that would depend directly on heads of state to “enable the AU to provide effective support to the United Nations-led process.” The aim is to resume negotiations between the parties concerned “to achieve a just, lasting and mutually acceptable political solution that will allow the self-determination of the people of Western Sahara”.

This mechanism, if accepted by heads of state, would consist of a panel of AU senior leaders and / or heads of state. Its exact constitution remains to be determined, however.

Moussa Faki Mahamat also proposes to AU Heads of State to call upon all countries, especially their neighbors, to “contribute to the success of the proposed African approach.”

However, the report insists that this mechanism will not replace the United Nations process, currently headed by Special Envoy Horst Köhler.