Statement of Mr. Mohamed Salem Uld Salek, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Saharawi Republic

Niamey, Niger, 9 July 2019  - The Moroccan Foreign Affairs Minister gave statements to the media after the end of the Extraordinary Summit of the African Union held in Niamey, capital of the Republic of Niger, in which he tried to cover the great disappointment Morocco is facing at the political and legal levels.

The Extraordinary Summit witnessed the announcement of the entry into force of the Continental Agreement establishing the African Free Trade Area (CFTA). It should be recalled here, that five mechanisms were presented before the Summit, mainly related to commodities, rules of origin, methods of exchange and other practical plans for companies and banks.

On his part, the AU Commissioner for Trade and Industry presented before the African Heads of States and Governments and Heads of Delegations a detailed presentation of the list of States that had ratified the instruments of the CFTA, enabling their entry into force and implementation. The Saharawi Republic was among these countries, while Morocco was said to have signed the instruments and intends to ratify them in the near future.

Once it will join the countries that ratified, Morocco will become a State Party like any other country, including the Sahrawi Republic.

It should be recalled also that Morocco had also joined the Constitutive Act of the African Union in 2017, and is therefore a State Party to this instrument alongside the Sahrawi Republic.

None needs to be an expert in Law to understand that the content of the statements of the Moroccan Minister, in which he denies the existence of the Sahrawi Republic and its resources and products or his assertion that SADR is not member in any Regional Economic Community currently, aims to divert attention from the following facts:

1. That by ratifying the Constitutive Act of the African Union and any convention or treaty under it, Morocco becomes a State Party and is obliged to fully comply with all obligations arising from their ratification, in accordance with the requirements of those instruments.

2. That the international community (international and regional organizations, and Courts) does not recognize Morocco's sovereignty over Western Sahara.

3. That the Saharawi Republic and the Kingdom of Morocco are two distinct and separate countries, each with its own borders recognized by the United Nations, the African Union and all other bodies of the international community. This is what the Moroccan delegation, like other delegations, representatives of international organizations and the press, witnessed during the presentations on the large screens in the Summit’s Conference Hall.

4 - That the Moroccan military presence in the occupied territories of the Sahrawi Republic has no legal nature other than being an occupation as classified by the United Nations, the African Union, International Courts, and legal opinions issued by the United Nations and the African Union.

5. That Morocco, as an occupying power, has no right to exploit the Saharawi natural resources or make it part of its commercial exchange with one or multiple parties. The African CFTA instruments, which entered into force, expressly prohibit this exercise in accordance with the requirements of the rules of origin and the rules governing trade exchange at the continental level.

We wish to remind the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Morocco, a State party alongside with the Saharawi State in the OAU/AU conventions and agreements, including the  Continental African Free Trade Agreement, that Morocco is legally bound by the following:

First, it added the name of the King of Morocco to the list of Heads of states, along with the name of the President of the Sahrawi Republic on the front page of the Constitutive Act of the African Union.

Second: According to article 4 of the Constitutive Act of the Union, paragraphs A, B, F and J, Morocco has committed to:

(A) "Sovereign equality and interdependence among member States of the Union".

(B) " Respect of borders existing on achievement of independence ".

(U ) "Prohibition of the use of force or threat to use force among Member States of the Union ".

(J) " The right of Member States to request intervention from the Union in order to restore peace and security ".

Third, in accordance with the Kigali Declaration (Rwanda) on the launching of the Continental African Free Trade Area, the member States commit themselves in the Preamble to:

"the full integrity of what has been negotiated and agreed in the draft legal texts of the AfCFTA supported by the negotiated records ".

Fourth, in Annex 2 to this CFTA agreement, specifically in Article 1, paragraph (f), States Parties shall, with respect to the rules of origin:

"Country of origin means the State Party in which the goods are produced or manufactured".

Fifth, the 1969 Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties asserts in its article 26 that the contract is the law of the contracting parties and that "every treaty in force is binding upon the parties to it and must be performed by them in good faith ".

It also affirms in article 29 that any treaty “is binding upon each party in respect of its entire territory”.

Finally, it can be said that the statements of the Moroccan Minister after the shock of Niamey are mainly directed to the Moroccan public opinion because what Morocco is doing in reality and the commitments that it endorses globally contradict his internal political speech that aims to overcome the structural crisis suffered by the rule of the Moroccan royal family, which made Morocco in the lower ends of rankings at all international lists in terms of human development, education and health, while it occupies the top ranks in the migration out of the country, the number of holders of Moroccan nationality in terrorist groups, not to mention the domination of the first ranking In the export of drugs.

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