PSC meets without Morocco, AU calls for end of occupation of Western Sahara

Addis Abeba, March 23, 2017 (SPS) - Saharawi Foreign Minister Mohamed Salem Ould Salek said the absence of Morocco at the meeting of the African Union's Peace and Security Council (PSC), held Monday in Addis Ababa, did not prevent the AU from maintaining its positions in favour of the settlement of the conflict of Western Sahara, occupied by Morocco since 1975, Saharawi news agency SPS has reported.

"The absence of Morocco at the meeting, which was the first test, did not prevent the African Union from maintaining its constant position in favour of the end of occupation of Western Sahara," Ould Salek, adding that Morocco's policy is contrary to the goals and principles of the AU. 

Morocco's "empty chair" policy, since its adherence to the African Union "as the 55th member, has not prevented the Council from taking decisions relating to the Saharawi cause."

The Saharawi FM, who took part to the PSC meeting alongside the other Council's members, said the absence of Morocco at the African meeting shows Rabat's "stubbornness" as it "escapes its commitment to African joint action, beside the United Nations, for a solution to the conflict of Western Sahara, the last colony in Africa," SPS said.

AU Peace and Security Council's members said "the absence of Morocco in spite of the official invitation it received to attend the meeting is contrary to the statements of King Mohamed VI, at the last AU summit in January."

In his statements, the King of Morocco expressed his country's intention to cooperate, in a constructive manner, with the African Union to achieve peace, security and stability in Africa."

Morocco had committed to abiding by AU Constitutive Act, by virtue of which it must attend such meetings, alongside the Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR), to respond to the concerns of the African Union PSC members.

The Peace and Security Council, in addition, strongly condemned Morocco's violations in Western Sahara during the opening of the trial of 25 Saharawi political prisoners (Gdeim Izik group). SPS