Remarks to the media by President Cyril Ramaphosa following talks with President Brahim Ghali of the Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic, Union Buildings, Pretoria

5 June 2018

Your Excellency, President Brahim Ghali,

Honourable Ministers,


Ladies and Gentlemen,

Members of the Media,

Good day to you all.

Allow me, Your Excellency, to once again welcome you to South Africa.

Even though our respective countries are located on the extreme ends of our Continent, we are brought together by an unbreakable bond that were forged during our common fight against colonialism and apartheid.

We are also brought together by a shared vision of a better Africa and a better world.

We wish to assure you once again of our unwavering support for the inalienable right of the people of Western Sahara to self-determination and independence. 

Ladies and Gentlemen,

We have just concluded productive discussions, underpinned by the strong friendship and solidarity between our two countries and peoples.

In this regard, we have agreed to deepen our relations and strengthen cooperation across a number of fields.

In our discussions, we reflected on a number of areas of bilateral cooperation, including the Memorandum of Understanding on Technical and Humanitarian Assistance.

This Memorandum provides for humanitarian assistance from South Africa to assist the people of Western Sahara in refugee camps.

We believe that the protracted humanitarian crisis in the refugee camps is a direct consequence of the delay in finding a lasting solution to the conflict in Western Sahara.

The lack of a solution is also an impediment towards greater regional integration and security cooperation in the Maghreb region.

In our discussions, we expressed our full support and confidence in the efforts undertaken by the UN Secretary General’s Personal Envoy for Western Sahara, Mr Horst Köhler, to bring the parties together and mobilise the international community to implement all UN resolutions on Western Sahara, including the recently adopted UN Security Council Resolution 2414.

Similarly, we have expressed our full support and confidence in the efforts undertaken by the African Union Special Envoy for Western Sahara, former President Joaquim Chissano of Mozambique.

We are fully committed to a speedy implementation of the resolution of the 30th AU Summit in January 2018 calling on the Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic and the Kingdom of Morocco to engage without preconditions in direct and serious talks to put an end to their conflict.

We also discussed regional, continental and international peace and security challenges.

We condemned in the strongest possible terms all forms of terrorism and extremism affecting some of our sister countries.

We have committed ourselves to playing our part in resolving the peace and security challenges on the continent.

We reiterated the need for the reform of multilateral institutions, including the UN Security Council, to better represent the interests of the global South and Africa in particular.

Mr President,

The triumph of the South African people over apartheid demonstrates that no system, no matter how oppressive, can forever deny the desire of a people to be free. 

We are certain that the people of Western Sahara will soon be free.

Our liberation, and the liberation of our continent, will not be complete without the liberation of Western Sahara.

I therefore wish to reiterate our solidarity with the Saharawi people in their struggle for self-determination and independence.

We are extremely happy with the outcome of our discussions.

Let me thank you, Your Excellency, for honouring us with your visit. 

I wish you a pleasant journey back home and extend our warm fraternal greetings to all the Saharawi people.

I thank you. (SPS)

062/SPS/Presidency SA