Côte d’Ivoire announced on Wednesday its decision to open a Consulate General in Laayoune, capital of the Moroccan Sahara, to bring closer the consular services to Ivorian nationals living in this region of the Kingdom.
The Council of Ministers, which convened Wednesday in Abidjan, “adopted a decree setting up a Consulate General of the Republic of Côte d’Ivoire in Laayoune, Morocco”, said spokesman for the Ivorian Govt Sidi Tiémoko Touré.
The move “aims to bring the consular administration closer to Ivorian nationals living in southern Morocco and to strengthen their consular protection”, he added at a press briefing.
This bold decision that will certainly irk the Polisario Front leaders who, with the support of the Algerian government, are demanding a self-determination referendum in Western Sahara, while Morocco affirms that it is an integral part of its national territory and proposes a solution to this conflict, a broad autonomy under its sovereignty.
The Polisario leadership and the Algerian regime are already furious as they were taken by surprise when other African countries have already opened, since last December, consulates general in Laayoune or Dakhla. These countries are the Union of the Comoros Islands, Gambia, Guinea, Gabon, Central Africa Republic and the Republic of Sao Tome and Principe.
The opening of African consular representations in the Moroccan Sahara is a real slap in the face not only to the Polisario but also to Algeria, which spares no efforts to undermine the political settlement of this regional conflict as its Moroccan neighbor endeavors.
The move made by these African countries is also a clear recognition of the Moroccanness of Sahara, by turning words into concrete deeds.