The African Union hails the United Nations Secretary General’s visit to Western Sahara in order to end the prolonged suffering of the territory’s people

Addis Ababa, March 15, 2016 (SPS) - The Chairperson of the Commission of the African Union (AU), Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, welcomes the visit of the United Nations Secretary General, Mr. Ban Ki-moon, to Western Sahara and the region, undertaken from 3 to 7 March 2016.


“We hail the UN Secretary General’s visit to Western Sahara. He demonstrated the serious resolve of the United Nations to assume its responsibility and provide the long-awaited necessary momentum to materialize the solution to the conflict in the territory in accordance with the international legality.” she said.


The Chairperson further shares the concerns of the UN Secretary General that the people of Western Sahara have suffered for too long and the international Community should not make any further delay to comply with the fundamental principles of International Law and the UN resolutions regarding the undeniable right to self-determination of the people of a non-self-governing Territory.


The Chairperson, in particular, expresses AU’s deep preoccupation over the humanitarian situation in which the people of Western Sahara are living, the violation of human rights and the continuous illegal exploitation of the territory’s natural resources, regardless of the relevant multiple opinions and decisions of international and regional organisations on the matter.

In this context, she praises the recent ruling of the European Union (EU) Court of Justice, issued on 10 December 2015, annulling the trade deal in agricultural and fisheries products, concluded in March 2012, between the Kingdom of Morocco and the EU, due to its inclusion of Western Sahara. She further calls upon all concerned to respect the Court’s ruling and desist from entering into any agreement that would violate the Sahrawi people’s permanent sovereignty over their natural resources



In this regard, the Chairperson reiterates the AU’s appeal to the UN Security Council to fully assume its responsibility in the matter and act, in its upcoming April 2016 meeting, beyond the extension of MINURSO mandate and take the necessary measures to push for an early resolution of the conflict and ensure that the Sahrawi people express their own convictions freely and fairly in deciding their destiny.

She also reiterates the AU’s commitment to step up its efforts to move forward the peace process and enable the people of Western Sahara to exercise their inalienable right to self-determination.


 ‘’ AU’s involvement in the Western Sahara is not only based on its responsibility to promoting peace and security on the Continent in accordance with Chapter VIII of the UN Charter, but also on its responsibility as a guarantor of the OAU Peace Plan of June 1983, which led to reaching the Settlement Plan of the conflict”, she specified.



As part of these efforts, the AU Special Envoy for Western Sahara, former President Joachim Chissano of Mozambique, stands ready to address the UN Security Council, during its April 2016 meeting on Western Sahara. In this regard, the Chairperson calls on the UNSG and all UNSC Members to facilitate the AU Special Envoy’s mission, including granting to him audience.SPS