AU calls for immediate engagement in spirit of pan-Africanism to overcome current impasse in Western Sahara

Addis Ababa, 25 March 2017 (SPS) - The African Union (AU) Peace and Security Council (PSC) Called for the immediate engagement of direct and serious talks without preconditions and in accordance with article 4 of the Constitutive Act of the AU to overcome the current impasse in the Western Sahara conflict, affirming that it remains actively seized of the issue.

The PSC announced in its communiqué after its 668th meeting in Addis-Ababa on Monday (March 20th) on the situation in Western Sahara, the first of its kind since Morocco joined the AU, the reactivation of ad hoc Committee of Heads of State and Government on the Western Sahara Conflict, established pursuant to the resolution adopted at the 15th Ordinary Session of the Conference of Heads of State and Government of OAU (Orgnisation of the African Union), held in Khartoum, Sudan, from 18 to 22 July 1978, while recalling the relevant provisions of article 4 of the Constitutive Act of the AU which evokes, among other things, the peaceful settlement of disputes between the member states of the Union, stressing that it is imperative to engage immediately in direct and serious talks, without preconditions, and in accordance with article 4 of the Constitutive Act.

The Council regretted the absence of Morocco during this meeting, a first test "failed" by Rabat, according to the chief of the Saharawi diplomacy.

The PSC also decided, according to the statement, to reinforce the mandate of the former Mozambican President, Joaquim Chissano, to be appointed High Representative of the AU for Western Sahara, "to facilitate direct talks between the two member states and to mobilize the efforts of Africa and the United Nations to this end ". In this regard, the Council calls on the Chairperson of the AU Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat, to take the necessary steps to enable the AU High Representative to assume his mandate immediately.

The African body calls upon all AU member states, in the spirit of pan-Africanism and in accordance with the provisions of the Constitutive Act, to mobilize and provide other forms of political and diplomatic support to Joaquim Chissano, to facilitate direct talks, furthermore calling on the AU Commission to take immediate steps to reopen the AU Office in El Aaiun, Western Sahara, including the provision of human and financial resources and the necessary logistical means. (SPS)