The Minister of Foreign Affairs, African Cooperation, and Moroccan Expatriates, Nasser Bourita, affirmed on February 6 in Rabat, that South Africa was and will remain a marginal actor in the Moroccan Sahara issue.
“South Africa was and will remain a marginal actor in the issue of the Moroccan Sahara and a dissonant voice, without any influence or weight, in this issue,” said Bourita during a press briefing following the work of the Ministerial Segment of the High-Level Conference on Middle-Income Countries, in response to a question about the visit conducted to South Africa by the UN Secretary-General’s Personal Envoy for the Sahara, Staffan de Mistura.
In this context, the Minister indicated that the current dynamic experienced by this issue is marked by the growing number of withdrawals of the recognition of the fictitious entity as well as the growing recognition of the Moroccanity of the Sahara and the support for the autonomy initiative by credible powers internationally.
On a similar note, Bourita explained that Morocco relies on three non-negotiable elements in the handling of this issue, namely the identification of the parties concerned by the regional dispute over the Moroccan Sahara, the consecration of round tables as the sole framework of the United Nations (UN) process, and the confirmation of the autonomy initiative within the framework of the Kingdom’s sovereignty and territorial integrity as the only solution to this artificial conflict.
“These three elements constitute the fundamental determinant of Morocco’s action and its interaction with international parties and the Personal Envoy of the Secretary General of the United Nations. When they are transgressed, Morocco takes appropriate measures,” noted the head of Moroccan diplomacy, adding that the Kingdom’s relations with UN envoys are in line with the principles of transparency, consultation, and coordination for the success of this process.
The Moroccan official further stated that South Africa, which has adopted a negative position on the Sahara issue for twenty years, has neither the aptitude nor the capacity to influence the course of this matter, affirming that this has been proven by South Africa’s inability to influence decisions in its geographical environment; since 27 countries have withdrawn their recognition of the fictitious entity, with the third of them opening consulates in Dakhla and Laâyoune.
“Although South Africa has been a member of the Security Council three times since it recognized the puppet entity, it has been unable to prevent the adoption of any of the Security Council resolutions, which all support the autonomy initiative, identify the parties to the conflict and establish the round table process,” said Bourita, recalling Morocco’s election to the presidency of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) for the year 2024 with a large majority of votes.
The minister stated that South Africa also tried to hinder Morocco’s return to the African Union (AU) and its access to the Peace and Security Council (PSC), but the Kingdom has remained strongly present for six years.