Address by H.E. Mr Brahim Ghali, President of the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR) and Secretary-General of the Frente POLISARIO
14th Extraordinary Session of the Assembly of the African Union on Silencing the Guns, 6 December 2020
His Excellency Mr Cyril Ramaphosa, President of the Republic of South Africa and Chairperson of the African Union
Excellencies Heads of State and Government
His Excellency Mr Moussa Faki Mahamat, Chairperson of the African Union Commission
Ladies and Gentlemen Heads of Delegations
At the outset, we would like to express our thanks and congratulations to the Chairperson of the African Union for his dedication to ensure the implementation of the plans and decisions of the Assembly in the interest of Africa and its people under the exceptional and difficult circumstances marked by the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. We would also like to commend the efforts of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission and his staff.
The theme of the summit is “Silencing the Guns: Creating Conducive Conditions for Africa’s Development”. The Sahrawi Republic (SADR) regrets to inform you of the resumption of the armed confrontation between the Sahrawi Republic and the Kingdom of Morocco since 13 of November as a result of the flagrant and declared violation of the ceasefire agreement by Morocco. In doing so, Morocco has completely disengaged from its obligations, undermined the OAU/AU and UN Peace Process, and revived its expansionism involving this time other parts of the Sahrawi Republic.
We condemn in the strongest possible terms the new aggression carried out by the Kingdom of Morocco on our national sovereignty, the continuation of its military occupation of parts of our Territory as well as its attempt to undermine the right of our people to self-determination and independence in blatant violation of international legality, in particular the Constitutive Act of the African Union and the Charter of the United Nations.
The international community, represented by international and continental organisations and several courts and other bodies, recognises that Morocco is an occupying power and recognises the inalienable right of the Sahrawi people to self-determination and independence since the 1960s as well as the legal nature of the issue of Western Sahara as a question of decolonisation.
The African consensus on the need for an African solution to the conflict has been achieved since the 1980s. A Committee of the Wise made up of African Heads of State worked for five years and held nearly a dozen summit-level meetings to crystallise the solution in its final form in the OAU resolution 104 (XIX) of 1983. This resolution was submitted by the Republic of Senegal, on behalf of Africa, to the United Nations General Assembly, which in turn adopted it in 1984 and 1985 to become the cornerstone of the UN-OAU Settlement Plan of 1991.
The Sahrawi people have responded with sincerity and serious cooperation with those efforts because they are a peaceful people that have the will and sincere desire to bring lasting and just peace to our region and Africa, which is evidenced by their patience for nearly 30 years awaiting a peaceful solution. Our people were let down not only by the failure of the international community to keep its promises and the reneging of the Kingdom of Morocco on its commitments but also by France’s brazen attempt to influence the Security Council to divert the peace process from its original objective and, consequently, to try to undermine the legitimate and inalienable right of our people to establish their own state on its entire national soil.
The Moroccan occupying power persists in its colonial practices in the occupied parts of the SADR, including its gross violations of human rights perpetrated against defenceless civilians who today—under the circumstances marked by the COVID-19 pandemic—are subjected to systematic repression and serious neglect, comparable to an attempted genocide, whilst Sahrawi political prisoners in Moroccan jails are facing various forms of torture and indifference.
The occupying power also continues to plunder massively the Sahrawi natural resources and involve foreign parties in an effort to perpetuate the fait accompli represented by the illegal military occupation by an African State of parts of the territory of another African State.
The Sahrawi Republic is not only exercising its right to legitimate self-defence and to defending its national sovereignty but it is also defending steadfastly the principles of the African Union that are clearly defined in its Constitutive Act, which prohibits the use of force or threat to use force among Member States of the Union. The SADR therefore calls upon the African Union to assume its responsibility and intervene to put an end to this grave, unprecedented Moroccan violation, which, if left undeterred, will pose an imminent danger to the African countries because it threatens to undermine a fundamental pillar of peace, security and stability on the continent, namely respect for borders existing on achievement of independence.
Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen
The conflict between the Sahrawi Republic and the Kingdom of Morocco is above all an African issue. The African Union is not only the United Nations’ partner in the efforts to resolve the Moroccan-Sahrawi conflict. It is also directly concerned and primarily responsible for expediting the resolution of this African problem and ending the last manifestations of colonialism on the continent as a fundamental goal to which the founding fathers committed themselves. The African Union has also embraced this noble goal in its landmark declaration in 2013 on the occasion of the fiftieth anniversary of the founding of the Continental Organisation along with the Union’s consistent emphasis at its summits and through its resolutions on the need for African solutions to African problems.
Expansionism, aggression, and the occupation of the territories of others by military force impedes the continent’s efforts to silence the guns. Therefore, the Sahrawi Republic, a founding member of the African Union, and in the face of the serious danger of this new Moroccan aggression, urgently demands that our neighbour, the Kingdom of Morocco, be obliged to abide fully by the objectives and principles of the Constitutive Act that it signed and ratified, without any reservation, after joining the Union, by ending its illegal military occupation of parts of our national Territory.
This is the path leading to justice and the right way to ensure peace and stability in that region, and to contribute to the achievement of our collective goal of creating conducive conditions for the all-inclusive development of our dear continent.
Thank you, and peace be upon you.