Dispute over Moroccan Sahara ‘Major Obstacle’ to Africa’s Integration – Chilean Media Outlet –

The dispute over the Moroccan Sahara is “a major obstacle” to the economic integration of Africa, underlines Chilean news website “ElPeriodista”, noting that the African Union (AU) must strengthen its “resilience” and consolidate its institutional architecture to face the challenge of integration. The Chilean media outlet, which reported on the debates organized by the IMANI Center (a prestigious Ghanaian think tank) as part of a seminar in Accra, underlined the imperative to “find a realistic and final solution to this old issue, a solution which can only constitute a great step forward in the regional and continental consolidation of Africa”. Recalling the current context marked by the induced emergency linked to the economic and social repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic, the participants in the seminar underlined that the resolution of the Sahara issue is a necessary step to strengthen the economic integration of the continent, taking into account “its current dynamic marked by the exclusivity of the United Nations process and the pre-eminence of the Moroccan Autonomy Plan as a sincere, realistic, credible, and inclusive political solution. The Chilean news website stressed, in this regard, that the recent Guerguarat incident demonstrates the need to overcome political deadlocks and unproductive ideological positions that put neighbouring countries, the region and the whole continent’s economic security at risk.  The participants also examined the solutions available to the AU to rebalance its position on the issue, and fully play its neutral role in contributing to promote a lasting solution to a dispute that has been halting the AU’s functioning as well as the continent’s overall integration. They also stressed that the admission into the Organisation of African Unity (OAU), then its maintenance by the AU, of a non-state entity, has since been a source of obstructions and division. According to them, the AU should correct this “cumbersome legacy” and “historical miscarriage”. The seminar called, in this regard, for the suspension, if not the expulsion, of the “SADR”, an armed group with no attributes of a sovereign State, from the African Union (AU), noting that this issue must not be considered as a taboo or unattainable objective. Its fulfilment will lead African States to put an end to superfluous divisions and to stop the instrumentalization of an organization which is supposed to serve a Pan-African ideal and goal, the participants underlined.