Moroccan Sahara: Colombian Senate Adopts New Motion in Support of Morocco’s Territorial Integrity

The Colombian Senate passed, on November 28, a new motion giving unequivocal support to Morocco’s territorial integrity and sovereignty over its Sahara, reiterating the categorical rejection by the legitimate representatives of the Colombian people to the current government’s unwise decision to establish relations with the pseudo-sadr.

The motion, which was adopted by an overwhelming majority of 65 Senators out of 105 in the upper house of the Colombian Congress, stated that the Senators and legitimate representatives of the Colombian people “strongly reject this unwise decision by the current government, expressing their firm support and respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Kingdom of Morocco”. 

The motion, which was endorsed by Senators from nine of Colombia’s most important political parties, two of which are part of the government coalition, was supported in particular by the President of the Colombian Congress and Senate, Ivan Leónidas Name (Green Alliance), and Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Lidio Garcia Turbay (Liberal Party), both of whom wished to send a strong political message to Colombian President Gustavo Petro.

In this new motion, which follows on the one adopted in October 2022, the signatories stressed that they “categorically reject the establishment of diplomatic relations with the separatist movement (polisario) and the self-proclaimed ‘Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic’, and even more so, the presence in Colombia of its so-called ambassador”.

“We deplore this government’s continued refusal to listen not only to our Motion of October 19, 2022, signed by 63 Senators, representing nine political parties but also to our numerous calls for the respect of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Kingdom of Morocco,” stated the motion.

The signatories recalled that Colombia has maintained “a friendship with Morocco that goes back almost half a century and that it is a strategic and privileged ally of Colombia on the African continent and in the Arab world, thanks to its great leadership and position at a regional, continental, and global level”.

“How can diplomatic relations be established with the separatist ‘polisario front’ movement, if the 1961 Vienna Convention governing diplomatic relations clearly stipulates that such relations are established between sovereign states recognized as such,” enquired the signatories, adding that “the separatist ‘polisario front’ movement, as we all know, does not possess the minimum attributes of a state, is not recognized by the vast majority of countries, nor by the United Nations, and has no legal legitimacy”.

Recalling the “cardinal principles” of Colombian diplomacy, namely the respect for international legality, the non-interference in the internal affairs of states, and the respect for the territorial sovereignty of these states, the motion deplored how these essential fundamentals have been transgressed by the current government in Bogota.

“The position adopted by this government is not conducive to the political process underway in New York, under the aegis of the United Nations, its Secretary-General, and his Personal Envoy for the Sahara, Staffan de Mistura,” stressed the Columbian signatories, who also believe that “healthy relations cannot be built based on obsolete ideological positions inherited from the Cold War, and even less so that such positions make this government a standard-bearer of separatism.”  

The 65 signatories also “deplored the deep crisis in our diplomatic relations, cooperation, and friendship with the Kingdom of Morocco”, pointing out that as a result of this position adopted by the Colombian government, “the positive and proactive dynamic we had with this friendly country has come to a complete halt.” 

“Morocco has completely suspended cooperation and all current agreements in important sectors to Colombia as agriculture, renewable energies, port, railroads, and tourism, with all the prejudice that implies,” recalled the signatories of the motion. 

The Colombian Senators also stressed that the President of the Republic must manage international relations with responsibility, respect, and coherence, adding that “the position adopted by this government is not consistent with our interests as a country and does not benefit Colombians in any way.” 

The motion further noted that “in a context where Colombia is implementing a rapprochement policy with Africa to forge new cooperation alliances, we are deeply affected by the adoption of this position vis-a-vis Morocco, one of our main partners in this region and Colombia’s fourth-largest African customer.” 

The signatories also criticized the current government for seeking to “create supposed alliances” with a separatist movement, which “represents absolutely nothing for Colombia, nor for the world, and which raises serious questions about its links with terrorist groups”.

This new motion, which enjoys the support of an overwhelming majority of the members of the upper house of Congress, the most important legislative body in Colombia, confirms that the relationship with Morocco is not an issue specific to opposition political parties, but is a subject of political consensus in Colombia.

With this massive endorsement, the Colombian political class wishes to reiterate to Gustavo Petro’s government that relations with Morocco remain a priority and a topical issue.

The parties who signed the motion are the Liberal Party and the Green Alliance Party (members of the government coalition), the Conservative Party, the U Party, the MIRA Party, the Independent Social Alliance Party and the En Marche Party (Independents), and the Democratic Center Party and Radical Change Party (Opposition).

The motion was read out in the Senate’s plenary session by Senator Germán Alcides Blanco Álvarez, President of the Colombia-Morocco Friendship Group in the Senate and President of the Constitutional Committee, the largest in the Colombian Congress.

The text of the motion will be sent to Colombian President Gustavo Petro and the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Alvaro Leyva.

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