Political status of Western Sahara

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Western Sahara, formerly the Spanish colony of Spanish Sahara, is a disputed territory claimed by both the Kingdom of Morocco and the Popular Front for the Liberation of the Saguia el Hamra and Rio de Oro (Polisario Front), which is an independence movement based in Algeria. It is listed by the United Nations (UN) as a non-decolonized territory and is thus included in the United Nations list of Non-Self-Governing Territories.

Contents

Background

Since the Madrid Accords of 1975, a part of Western Sahara has been administered by Morocco as the Southern Provinces. Another section, the Liberated Territories, is administered by the Polisario Front as the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR). Mauritania administers the western half of the Ras Nouadhibou Peninsula. A UN-monitored cease-fire has been in effect since September 1991.

While no other country has ever recognized Morocco's unilateral annexation of Western Sahara, [1] [2] a number of countries have expressed their support for a future recognition of Moroccan sovereignty over the territory as an autonomous part of the Kingdom. There is, for instance, a de facto recognition of the Moroccan claim on the part of some countries such as the case of the United Kingdom. Although the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) treats the status of Western Sahara as 'undetermined', its lack of reference to its current effective partition, considering the existence of the Polisario-held areas, indicates an acceptance of Morocco as the administering power in the entire territory. [3] Overall, the annexation has not garnered as much attention in the international community as many other disputed annexations (e.g. the Russian annexation of Crimea).

In order to resolve the sovereignty issue, the UN has attempted to hold a referendum through the United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO), and is holding direct talks between the Kingdom of Morocco and the Polisario Front. The UN recognizes neither Moroccan [4] nor SADR sovereignty over Western Sahara.

Moroccan settlers currently make up more than two thirds of the 500,000 inhabitants of Western Sahara. [5] Under international law, Morocco's transfer of its own civilians into occupied territory is in direct violation of Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention (cf. Israeli and Turkish settlers). [6]

Positions of the main parties

Kingdom of Morocco

The official position of the Kingdom of Morocco since 1963 is that all of Western Sahara is an integral part of the kingdom. The Moroccan government refers to Western Sahara only as "Moroccan Sahara", the "Saharan provinces"[ citation needed ], or the "Southern Provinces".

According to the Moroccan government, in 1958 the Moroccan Army of Liberation fought Spanish colonizers and almost liberated what was then Spanish Sahara.[ citation needed ] The fathers of many of the Polisario leaders were among the veterans of the Moroccan Southern Army, for example the father of Polisario leader Mohammed Abdelaziz. Morocco is supported in this view[ clarification needed ] by a number of former Polisario founders and leaders. The Polisario Front is considered by Morocco to be a Moroccan separatist movement, referring to the Moroccan origins of most of its founding members, and its self-proclaimed SADR to be a puppet state used by Algeria to fight a proxy war against Morocco.

On 22 January 2020, Morocco's House of Representatives voted unanimously to add Western Sahara waters to the Moroccan maritime borders. [7]

Polisario Front and Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic

The Polisario Front, mainly backed by Algeria, is described by itself and its supporters as a national liberation movement that opposes Moroccan control of Western Sahara, whilst it is considered by Morocco and supporters of Morocco's claims over the Western Sahara to be a separatist organization. It began as a movement of students who felt torn between the divergent Spanish and Moroccan influences on the country. The original goal of the Polisario, which was to end Spanish colonialism in the region, was achieved, but their neighbours, Morocco and Mauritania, seized sovereignty of the region, which the Polisario felt was entitled to self-determination and eventually interdependence. The Polisario engaged in guerrilla warfare with the Moroccan and Mauritanian forces. It evacuated the Sahrawi population to the Tindouf refugee camps due to Royal Moroccan Air Force bombing of the refugee camps on Sahrawi land with napalm and white phosphorus. [8] [9]

The Polisario Front has called for the self-determination of the people of Western Sahara to be decided through a referendum. Although the SADR is not recognized as a state by the UN, the Polisario is considered a direct participant in the conflict and as the legitimate representative of the Sahrawi people, recognized by the United Nations since 1979. [10]

Polisario-held territory (in green) east of the Moroccan Wall Western Sahara Map.png
Polisario-held territory (in green) east of the Moroccan Wall

The Polisario Front argues that Morocco's position is due to economical interests (fishing, phosphate mining, and the potential for oil reserves) and political reasons (stability of the king's position and the governing elite in Morocco, deployment of most of the Moroccan Army in Western Sahara instead of in Morocco). The Polisario Front proclaimed the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic in Bir Lehlou (Western Sahara), on 27 February 1976.

Mauritania

Claims on Western Sahara had proliferated since the 1960s, fuelled by Mauritanian President Moktar Ould Daddah. Before Mauritania signed the Madrid Accords and after the withdrawal of the last Spanish forces, in late 1975, the Mauritanian Army invaded the southern part of Western Sahara, while the Moroccan Army did the same in the north. In April 1976, Mauritania and Morocco partitioned the country into three parts, Mauritania getting the southern one, which was named Tiris al-Gharbiyya. Mauritania waged four years of war against Polisario guerrillas, conducting raids on Nouakchott, attacks on the Zouerate mine train and a coup d'état that deposed Ould Daddah. Mauritania finally withdrew in the summer of 1979, after signing the Algiers Agreement with the Polisario Front, recognizing the right of self-determination for the Sahrawi people, and renouncing any claims on Western Sahara. The Moroccan Army immediately took control of the former Mauritanian territory. Mauritania recognized the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic on 27 February 1984.

Algeria

Algeria has supported the independence of the whole of Western Sahara since 1975, when Spanish forces and settlers withdrew from the area. It is one of the few countries to do so in the Arab League. It has provided aid to the 'Polisario Front'. Algeria's role became indirect, through political and military support for the Polisario Front. Algeria recognized the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic on 6 March 1976. Its involvement in Western Sahara independence movement has interrupted the development of Algerian-Morocco diplomatic relations, which were restored in 1988. [12]

United Nations

A demonstration in Bilbao for the independence of the Western Sahara. Bilbao - Ayuntamiento 9.JPG
A demonstration in Bilbao for the independence of the Western Sahara.

Western Sahara is on the United Nations list of Non-Self-Governing Territories. The UN has been involved since 1988 in trying to find a solution to the conflict through self-determination. In 1988, the Kingdom of Morocco and the Polisario Front agreed to settle the dispute through a referendum under the auspices of the UN that would allow the people of Western Sahara to choose between independence or integration with Morocco. In 1991, the parties agreed upon the Settlement Plan , contingent on the referendum being held the following year, but due to disputes over voter qualification, the vote was not held. In the following years, the UN argued for negotiations between Morocco and the Polisario Front to resolve the deadlock, culminating in the Manhasset negotiations in 2007–2008. As of 2020, the mandate for MINURSO has been extended 47 times [13] and it maintains its presence in the country, but has yet to fulfill its mission by organizing a referendum.

Positions of other states

Positions on the status of Western Sahara:
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Western Sahara
Supports Morocco's territorial claim (including support for autonomy under Moroccan sovereignty); Relations with the SADR terminated and/or recognition withdrawn (if no other position expressed)
Maintains diplomatic relations with or recognizes the Sahrawi Republic
Recognizes the self-determination of the Sahrawi people, but does not recognize the SADR nor maintain diplomatic relations with it (if no other position expressed)
Has not expressed any position or has expressed conflicting opinions Western Sahara Positions.svg
Positions on the status of Western Sahara:
  Supports Morocco's territorial claim (including support for autonomy under Moroccan sovereignty); Relations with the SADR terminated and/or recognition withdrawn (if no other position expressed)
  Maintains diplomatic relations with or recognizes the Sahrawi Republic
  Recognizes the self-determination of the Sahrawi people, but does not recognize the SADR nor maintain diplomatic relations with it (if no other position expressed)
  Has not expressed any position or has expressed conflicting opinions

Some states are supportive of the "right of self-determination of the Sahrawi people", including the option of autonomy under Moroccan sovereignty. [14] Some states have changed their opinion frequently or have given separate announcements of support for both Morocco and the Polisario Front/SADR (Belgium, Benin, Botswana, Chile, Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Paraguay, Peru, Russia, Sierra Leone).[ citation needed ]

Some of the states announcing support of the "right of self-determination" currently recognize the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic. Not all of the states that have terminated diplomatic relations with or withdrawn recognition of the SADR have announced their support for the Moroccan claims.

Some states have not announced any position.

States supporting Polisario and the SADR on Western Sahara

[15]

#StateNotesInternational membership
1Flag of Algeria.svg Algeria [16] [17] [18] [19] [20] [21] [22] [23] [24] [25] [26] [27] [28] [29] [30] Flag African Union.svg African Union member

Flag of the Arab League.svg Arab League member
OIC Logo since 2011.jpg OIC member

2Flag of Angola.svg Angola [31] [32] [33] [34] [35] [36] [37] [38] [39] Flag African Union.svg African Union member
3Flag of Belize.svg Belize [40] [41] [42] [43] [44] [45]
4Flag of Bolivia.svg Bolivia(since 2021) Flag of UNASUR.svg UNASUR member
5Flag of Botswana.svg Botswana [46] [47] [48] [49] Flag African Union.svg African Union member
6Flag of Cuba.svg Cuba [44] [50] [51] [52] [53]
7Flag of the Dominican Republic.svg Dominican Republic [54]
8Flag of East Timor.svg East Timor [24] [55] [56] [57] [58] [59] [60] [61] [62] [63]
9Flag of Ecuador.svg Ecuador [64] [65] [66] [67] [68] [69] [70] [71] [72] Flag of UNASUR.svg UNASUR member
10Flag of Ethiopia.svg Ethiopia [73] [74] [75] [76] [77] Flag African Union.svg African Union member
11Flag of Ghana.svg Ghana [78] [79] [80] [81] [82] [83] [84] [85] [86] Flag African Union.svg African Union member
12Flag of Guatemala.svg Guatemala [87]
13Flag of Iran.svg Iran [88] OIC Logo since 2011.jpg OIC member
14Flag of Jamaica.svg Jamaica [89] [90]
15Flag of Kenya.svg Kenya [91] [92] [93] Flag African Union.svg African Union member
16Flag of Lesotho.svg Lesotho [24] [94] [95] [96] [97] [98] [99] [100] [101] [102] [103] Flag African Union.svg African Union member
17Flag of Libya.svg Libya [104] [105] Libyan Arab Jamahiriya supports the Polisario Front but does not recognize Western Sahara as a state. [106] African Union member

Flag of the Arab League.svg Arab League member
OIC Logo since 2011.jpg OIC member

18Flag of Mali.svg Mali [19] [20] [107] Flag African Union.svg African Union member

OIC Logo since 2011.jpg OIC member

19Flag of Mauritius.svg Mauritius [108] [109] Flag African Union.svg African Union member
20Flag of Mexico.svg Mexico [49] [110] [111] [112] [113] [114]
21Flag of Mozambique.svg Mozambique [115] [116] [117] [118] [119] [120] [121] [122] [123] Flag African Union.svg African Union member

OIC Logo since 2011.jpg OIC member

22Flag of Namibia.svg Namibia [47] [48] [114] [124] [125] [126] [127] [128] [129] [130] [131] [132] [133] Flag African Union.svg African Union member
23Flag of Nicaragua.svg Nicaragua [44] [134] [135] [136] [137] [138]
24Flag of Nigeria.svg Nigeria [108] [114] [139] [140] [141] [142] Flag African Union.svg African Union member

OIC Logo since 2011.jpg OIC member

25Flag of Panama.svg Panama [143] [144] [145]
26Flag of Peru.svg Peru [44] [146] [147] Flag of UNASUR.svg UNASUR member
27Flag of Sierra Leone.svg Sierra Leone [148] Flag African Union.svg African Union member
28Flag of South Africa.svg South Africa [24] [149] [150] [151] [152] [153] [154] [155] [156] [157] [158] [159] [160] [161] Flag African Union.svg African Union member
29Flag of South Ossetia.svg South Ossetia [162] [163] State with limited recognition by UN as part of Georgia. [164]
30Flag of Suriname.svg Suriname [165] OIC Logo since 2011.jpg OIC member

Flag of UNASUR.svg UNASUR member

31Flag of Tanzania.svg Tanzania [166] [114] [167] [168] [169] [170] [171] [172] [173] [174] [175] Flag African Union.svg African Union member
32Flag of Trinidad and Tobago.svg Trinidad and Tobago [166]
33Flag of Uganda.svg Uganda [166] [114] [176] [177] [178] [179] Flag African Union.svg African Union member

OIC Logo since 2011.jpg OIC member

34Flag of Uruguay.svg Uruguay [49] [114] [180] [181] [182] [183] [184] [185] [186] [187] [188] Flag of UNASUR.svg UNASUR member
35Flag of Venezuela.svg Venezuela [24] [189] [190] [191] [192] [193] Flag of UNASUR.svg UNASUR member
36Flag of Vietnam.svg Vietnam [194]
37Flag of Zimbabwe.svg Zimbabwe [48] [195] [196] [197] [198] [199] [200] [201] [202] [203] [204] Flag African Union.svg African Union member

States supporting Moroccan claims on Western Sahara

States expressing support for Moroccan claims and/or the Moroccan autonomy proposal. MoroccoSaharaIssue.png
States expressing support for Moroccan claims and/or the Moroccan autonomy proposal.
  States that have recognised the Western Sahara as part of the Kingdom of Morocco.
  States that have "withdrawn", "frozen" or "suspended" their recognition of the SADR.
#StateNotesDiplomatic mission [lower-alpha 1] References
1Flag of Azerbaijan.svg Azerbaijan [205] [206]
2Flag of Bahrain.svg Bahrain Flag of the Arab League.svg Arab League member14 December 2020 [207] [ better source needed ] [208] [209] [ better source needed ]
3Flag of Barbados.svg Barbados[ citation needed ]
4Flag of Benin.svg Benin Flag African Union.svg African Union member [210]
5Flag of Belarus.svg Belarus [211]
7Flag of Bulgaria.svg Bulgaria Flag of Europe.svg EU member [212] [213]
8Flag of Burkina Faso.svg Burkina Faso Flag African Union.svg African Union member23 October 2020 [214] [ better source needed ] [215] [ better source needed ]
9Flag of Burundi.svg Burundi Flag African Union.svg African Union member28 February 2020 [216] [ better source needed ]
10Flag of Cambodia.svg Cambodia [217]
11Flag of the Central African Republic.svg Central African Republic Flag African Union.svg African Union member23 January 2020 [218] [ better source needed ] [219] [220]
12Flag of Chad.svg Chad Flag African Union.svg African Union member [221] [ better source needed ]
13Flag of Colombia.svg Colombia [222] [223]
14Flag of the Comoros.svg Comoros Flag African Union.svg African Union member
Flag of the Arab League.svg Arab League member
18 December 2019 [224] [225]
15Flag of the Republic of the Congo.svg Congo Flag African Union.svg African Union member[ citation needed ]
16Flag of Djibouti.svg Djibouti Flag African Union.svg African Union member
Flag of the Arab League.svg Arab League member
28 February 2020 [226] [227]
17Flag of Dominica.svg Dominica[ citation needed ]
18Flag of the Dominican Republic.svg Dominican Republic[ citation needed ]
19Flag of El Salvador.svg El Salvador[ citation needed ]
20Flag of Equatorial Guinea.svg Equatorial Guinea Flag African Union.svg African Union member23 October 2020 [228] [ better source needed ] [229]
21Flag of Eswatini.svg Eswatini Flag African Union.svg African Union member27 October 2020 [230] [231] [ better source needed ]
22Flag of Gabon.svg Gabon Flag African Union.svg African Union member17 January 2020 [232] [ citation needed ]
23Flag of The Gambia.svg Gambia Flag African Union.svg African Union member7 January 2020 [233] [234] [235] [236]
24Flag of Grenada.svg Grenada [237]
25Flag of Guatemala.svg Guatemala [238]
26Flag of Guinea.svg Guinea Flag African Union.svg African Union member17 January 2020 [239] [240]
27Flag of Guinea-Bissau.svg Guinea-Bissau Flag African Union.svg African Union member23 October 2020 [241] [ better source needed ]
28Flag of Haiti.svg Haiti12 December 2020 [242] [ better source needed ] [243] [244] [245] [ better source needed ]
29Flag of Hungary.svg Hungary Flag of Europe.svg EU member [246] [247]
30Flag of India.svg India[ citation needed ]
31Flag of Indonesia.svg Indonesia [248] [249]
32Flag of Cote d'Ivoire.svg Ivory Coast Flag African Union.svg African Union member18 February 2020 [250] [ better source needed ]
33Flag of Jamaica.svg Jamaica[ citation needed ]
34Flag of Jordan.svg Jordan Flag of the Arab League.svg Arab League memberTBD [251]
35Flag of Kiribati.svg Kiribati [252]
36Flag of Kuwait.svg Kuwait Flag of the Arab League.svg Arab League member [253]
37Flag of Liberia.svg Liberia Flag African Union.svg African Union member12 March 2020 [254] [ better source needed ]
38Flag of Madagascar.svg Madagascar Flag African Union.svg African Union member [255] [256]
39Flag of Malawi.svg Malawi Flag African Union.svg African Union member [257] [ better source needed ]
40Flag of Maldives.svg Maldives [258]
41Flag of Nauru.svg Nauru [259]
42Flag of Niger.svg Niger Flag African Union.svg African Union member [210] [260]
43Flag of North Macedonia.svg North Macedonia [261]
44Flag of Oman.svg Oman Flag of the Arab League.svg Arab League member [262] [ better source needed ]
45Flag of Papua New Guinea.svg Papua New Guinea [263] [ better source needed ]
46Flag of Paraguay.svg Paraguay [264] [265] [266] [267]
47Flag of Peru.svg Peru [268]
48Flag of Poland.svg Poland Flag of Europe.svg EU member [269] [270] [271] [272]
49Flag of Qatar.svg Qatar Flag of the Arab League.svg Arab League member [273] [ better source needed ]
50Flag of Romania.svg Romania Flag of Europe.svg EU member [274]
51Flag of Rwanda.svg Rwanda Flag African Union.svg African Union member [275] [276] [277] [ better source needed ]
52Flag of Sao Tome and Principe.svg Sao Tome and Principe Flag African Union.svg African Union member23 January 2020 [278] [ better source needed ]
53Flag of Saudi Arabia.svg Saudi Arabia Flag of the Arab League.svg Arab League member [279]
54Flag of Senegal.svg Senegal Flag African Union.svg African Union member [280]
55Flag of the Seychelles.svg Seychelles Flag African Union.svg African Union member [281]
56Flag of the Solomon Islands.svg Solomon Islands[ citation needed ]
57Flag of South Sudan.svg South Sudan Flag African Union.svg African Union member [282] [283]
58Flag of Saint Kitts and Nevis.svg St. Kitts and Nevis[ citation needed ]
59Flag of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.svg St. Vincent and the Grenadines[ citation needed ]
60Flag of Sudan.svg Sudan Flag African Union.svg African Union member
Flag of the Arab League.svg Arab League member
[284] [285]
61Flag of Suriname.svg Suriname[ citation needed ]
62Flag of Tuvalu.svg Tuvalu[ citation needed ]
63Flag of the United Arab Emirates.svg United Arab Emirates Flag of the Arab League.svg Arab League member4 November 2020 [286] [ better source needed ]
64Flag of the United States.svg United States9 January 2021 [287] [288]
65Flag of Zambia.svg Zambia Flag African Union.svg African Union member27 October 2020 [289] [ better source needed ]

Position of United Nations Security Council permanent members

France

France claims neutrality on the Western Sahara issue, despite its military involvement in the Western Sahara War on the side of Morocco and Mauritania (see Operation Lamantin). In 2009 [290] [291] and 2010, [292] [293] France used the threat of its veto power to block the establishment of Human Rights monitoring by the MINURSO in Western Sahara. France has been a major backer of the Moroccan autonomy proposal and in the EU negotiated the concession of the advanced status to Morocco. [294]

United States
Photo of Former Assistant Secretary of State, David Welch (2005-2008) who in 2007 expressed strong support for Morocco and its autonomy plan in the conflict over Western Sahara, calling the plan a "serious and credible" solution. C David Welch.jpg
Photo of Former Assistant Secretary of State, David Welch (2005–2008) who in 2007 expressed strong support for Morocco and its autonomy plan in the conflict over Western Sahara, calling the plan a "serious and credible" solution.

The Obama administration disassociated itself from the Moroccan autonomy plan in 2009, however, reversing the Bush-backed support of the Moroccan plan, and returning to a pre-Bush position, wherein the option of an independent Western Sahara is on the table again. [296]

In April 2009, 229 members of the U.S. House of Representatives, a clear majority and more than 50 more than the number who signed the letter[ clarification needed ] in 2007, called on President Obama to support Morocco's autonomy plan and to assist in drawing the conflict to a close. The signers[ clarification needed ] included Democratic Majority Leader Steny Hoyer and Republican Minority Leader John Boehner. In addition to acknowledging that Western Sahara has become a recruiting post for radical Islamists, the letter affirmed that the conflict is "the single greatest obstacle impending the security and cooperation necessary to combat" terrorism in the Maghreb. [297] The letter referenced UN Security Council Resolution 1813 (2008), and encouraged President Obama to follow the policy set by President Clinton and followed by President Bush. [297] The congressmen expressed concerns about Western Sahara's viability. They referenced a UN fact-finding mission to Western Sahara which confirmed the State Department's view that the Polisario proposal, which ultimately stands for independence, would lead to a non-viable state. [297] In closing, the letter stated, "We remain convinced that the U.S. position, favoring autonomy for Western Sahara under Moroccan sovereignty is the only feasible solution. We urge you to both sustain this longstanding policy, and to make clear, in both words and actions, that the United States will work to ensure that the UN process continues to support this framework as the only realistic compromise that can bring this unfortunate and longstanding conflict to an end." [297] Commenting on a 2004 free trade agreement with Morocco, US Trade Representative Robert Zoellick stated in a letter to Congressman Joe Pitts in response to his questioning, "the United States and many other countries do not recognize Moroccan sovereignty over Western Sahara and have consistently urged the parties to work with the United Nations to resolve the conflict by peaceful means. The Free Trade Agreement will not include Western Sahara." [298] [299]

Photo of Former US Ambassador to Morocco, Samuel L. Kaplan (2009-2013) who in April 2013 expressed that the position of the United States is that Morocco's autonomy plan "can't be the only basis in these negotiations". Samuel Kaplan.jpg
Photo of Former US Ambassador to Morocco, Samuel L. Kaplan (2009–2013) who in April 2013 expressed that the position of the United States is that Morocco's autonomy plan "can't be the only basis in these negotiations".

In April 2013, the United States proposed that MINURSO monitored human rights (as all the other UN mission since 1991) in Western Sahara, a move that Morocco strongly opposed, cancelling the annual African Lion military exercises with U.S. Army troops. [301] Also in mid-April, United States Ambassador to Morocco Samuel L. Kaplan declared during a conference in Casablanca that the Moroccan autonomy plan "can't be the only basis in these negotiations", referring to the UN sponsored talks between the Polisario Front and Morocco. [302]

On December 10, 2020, President Donald Trump announced that the United States would officially recognize Morocco's claims over Western Sahara, as a result of Morocco agreeing to normalize relations with Israel. [303]

States which have not announced any position

The following states and entities have not announced any position:

Positions of international organizations

OrganizationMembershipPosition
African Union (Formerly OAU)22 February 1982The Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic is a fully recognized AU founding member. [304] The African Union supports the right of self-determination of the Sahrawi people. [305]
Flag of the Andean Community of Nations.svg Andean Community of Nations 26 October 2011 (Observer)The Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic is an Observer member in the framework of the Andean Parliament. [306] [307]
Flag of the Arab League.svg Arab League Not a member.The Arab League supports "the integrity of the Moroccan Territorial Sovereignty" without specifying a position on a solution to the conflict.
Emblem of Maghreb.svg Arab Maghreb Union Not a member.The Arab Maghreb Union has not made a unanimous statement about its position on the conflict between Morocco and the Polisario Front.
Flag of CARICOM.svg Caribbean Community (CARICOM)Not a member.The CARICOM supports the right of the Western Sahara people's to self-determination, consistent with the principles and purposes of the Charter of the United Nations. [308]
Bandera CELAC.png Community of Latin American and Caribbean States Not a member.The CELAC supports efforts by all parties to achieve a just, lasting and mutually acceptable political solution that would provide for the right of self-determination for the inhabitants. [44]
Flag of Europe.svg European Union Not a member.The EU supports the efforts by the Secretary General of the United Nations and his Personal Envoy to find a just, lasting and mutually acceptable political solution which will allow the self-determination of the people of the Western Sahara as provided for in the resolutions of the United Nations. [309] [310]
Non-Aligned Movement Not a member.The NAM supports the right of the Western Sahara people's to self-determination, consistent with the principles and purposes of the Charter of the United Nations and General Assembly resolution 1514 (XV) of 14 December 1960. [311]
OIC Logo since 2011.jpg Organisation of Islamic Cooperation Not a member.The OIC supports the achievement of a just, lasting and mutually acceptable political solution that would provide for the self-determination of the people of Western Sahara consistent with relevant resolutions
Rio Group Not a member.The Rio Group supports the resolutions adopted by the UN to achieve a just, lasting and mutually acceptable solution that leads to the self-determination of the people of Western Sahara, in the context of compatible accords with the principles of the UN charter and the Resolution 1514 (XV) of the General Assembly and other pertinent resolutions. [312] [313]
Flag of UNASUR.svg Union of South American Nations Not a member.The UNASUR supports for the achievement of a just, lasting and mutually acceptable political solution that would provide for the self-determination of the people of Western Sahara consistent with relevant resolutions. [44]
Flag of the United Nations.svg United NationsNot a member.The UN does not recognize Moroccan claims, as the Western Sahara remains in its list of Non-Self-Governing Territories since 1963. The Security Council had argued for direct negotiations between Morocco and the Polisario Front. [314] It had approved more than 100 resolutions supporting the right of Self-determination of the Sahrawi people.

The SADR is also a member of the Asian-African Strategic Partnership, formed at the 2005 Asian-African Conference, over Moroccan objections to SADR participation. [315]

In 2006, the SADR participated in a conference of the Permanent Conference of Political Parties of the Latin American and the Caribbean. [316]

African Union

On 22 February 1982, the SADR secured membership in the Organisation of African Unity. [317]

The African Union (formerly the OAU) has given the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic full recognition, [304] and accepted it as a member state (which has led Morocco to leave the union. [318] ). Mohamed Abdelaziz, president of the SADR, has been vicepresident of the OUA in 1985, and of the AU in 2002.

European Union

The European Union supports the right of self-determination of the Sahrawi people (the MINURSO UN-sponsored referendum), [319] but does not recognize the Polisario Front. [320] Over practical issues such as fishing in the EEZ the EU deals with Morocco as the country currently exercising "jurisdiction, but not sovereignty" over the Western Sahara territory. [321] In addition, members of the EFTA trade bloc have made statements excluding the Western Sahara from the Moroccan-EFTA free trade agreement. [322] In December 2016, the European Court of Justice reaffirmed in Council v Front populaire pour la libération de la saguia-el-hamra et du rio de oro (Front Polisario) that Morocco has no basis for sovereignty over Western Sahara [323] and that trade deals with Morocco cannot apply to the occupied territory. [324]

United Nations

Since 1966, the United Nations request for the celebration of a referendum for enabling the "indigenous population" to exercise freely their right to self-determination. [325] Since 1979, the United Nations has recognized the Polisario Front as the representative of the people of Western Sahara, and considered Morocco as an occupying force. [10]

Former United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan stressed, in his last report on Western Sahara, to the Security Council:

"The Security Council would not be able to invite parties to negotiate about Western Saharan autonomy under Moroccan sovereignty, for such wording would imply recognition of Moroccan sovereignty over Western Sahara, which was out of the question as long as no States Member of the United Nations had recognized that sovereignty". [326]

See also

Notes

  1. The dates when countries had consulates in either Dakhla or Laayoune, Western Sahara.

Related Research Articles

Western Sahara disputed territory in northwestern Africa

Western Sahara is a disputed territory on the northwest coast and in the Maghreb region of North and West Africa. About 20% of the territory is controlled by the self-proclaimed Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic, while the remaining 80% of the territory is occupied and administered by neighboring Morocco. Its surface area amounts to 266,000 square kilometres (103,000 sq mi). It is one of the most sparsely populated territories in the world, mainly consisting of desert flatlands. The population is estimated at just over 500,000, of which nearly 40% live in Laayoune, the largest city in Western Sahara.

Polisario Front Military and political organisation in Western Sahara

The Polisario Front, Frente Polisario, FRELISARIO or simply POLISARIO, from the Spanish abbreviation of Frente Popular de Liberación de Saguía el Hamra y Río de Oro, is a rebel national liberation movement by the Sahrawi people aiming to take control of the Western Sahara, which had been controlled by Spain, Mauritania, and as of 2021 was under the rule of Morocco. It is a consultative member of the Socialist International.

Bir Lehlou Municipality and town in Western Sahara

Bir Lehlou is an oasis town in north-eastern Western Sahara, 236 km from Smara, near the Mauritanian border and east of the border wall, in Polisario Front-held territory. It has a dispensary, a school and a mosque. It is the head of the 5th military region of the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic and was the factual temporary capital of SADR until Tifariti became the temporary capital in 2008. It is also the name of a Daïra of the Wilaya of Smara, in the Sahrawi refugee camps.

Tifariti Municipality and town in Western Sahara

Tifariti is an oasis town located in north-eastern Western Sahara, east of the Moroccan Berm, 138 km (86 mi) from Smara and 15 km (9 mi) north of the border with Mauritania. It is part of what Polisario Front calls the Liberated Territories and Morocco call the Buffer Zone. It has been the de facto temporary capital of the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic since the government moved there in 2008 from Bir Lehlou. It is the headquarters of the 2nd military region of the SADR.

Mahfoud Ali Beiba

Mahfoud Ali Beiba Hammad Dueihi was a Sahrawi politician and co-founder of the Polisario Front, a national liberation movement that seeks self-determination for Western Sahara. From 1975 until his death, he lived in exile in the refugee camps of Tindouf, Algeria.

Human rights in Western Sahara

The Government of Morocco sees Western Sahara as its Southern Provinces. The Moroccan government considers the Polisario Front as a separatist movement given the alleged Moroccan origins of some of its leaders.

Agounit Rural commune or Daerah in Western Sahara

Agounit is a small town or village in the Río de Oro area of the disputed territory of Western Sahara. It is claimed by Morocco as a rural commune in the Aousserd Province in the region of Dakhla-Oued Ed-Dahab, but it is to the east of the Moroccan Wall, and thus included in the Polisario Front-held Free Zone of Western Sahara, under the jurisdiction of the Sahrawi Republic, and near the Mauritanian border, 72 km. south-west from Fderik. At the time of the 2004 census, the commune had a total population of 222 people living in 43 households. It has a hospital, a school and a mosque. It is the head of the 7th military region of the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic.

Sahrawi National Council Legislature

The Sahrawi National Council (SNC) or Sahrawi Parliament is the legislature of the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic. Its structure and competences are guided by the Constitution of the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR). The present speaker since 2010 is Khatri Addouh.

Western Sahara conflict Military conflict

The Western Sahara conflict is an ongoing conflict between the Polisario Front and the Kingdom of Morocco. The conflict originated from an insurgency by the Polisario Front against Spanish colonial forces from 1973 to 1975 and the subsequent Western Sahara War against Morocco between 1975 and 1991. Today the conflict is dominated by unarmed civil campaigns of the Polisario Front and their self-proclaimed SADR state to gain fully recognized independence for Western Sahara.

Foreign relations of the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic

The foreign relations of the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR) are conducted by the Polisario Front, which maintains a network of representation offices and embassies in foreign countries.

Politics of the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic

The politics of the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic refers to politics of the Polisario Front's proclaimed Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic, an unrecognized country in North Africa, controlling parts of the Western Sahara region.

Sahrawi nationality law

Sahrawi nationality law is the law of the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR) governing nationality and citizenship. SADR is a partially recognized state which claims sovereignty over the entire territory of Western Sahara, but only administers part of that territory. The SADR also administers the Sahrawi refugee camps.

Bouchraya Hammoudi Bayoun Prime Minister of the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic

Bouchraya Hammoudi Bayoun is the Polisario Front representative to Algeria, with a base in Algiers. He has been Prime Minister of the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic twice.

Gdeim Izik protest camp Protest camp in Western Sahara

The Gdeim Izik protest camp was a protest camp in Western Sahara, established on 9 October 2010 and lasting into November that year, with related incidents occurring in the aftermath of its dismantlement on 8 November. The primary focus of the protests was against "ongoing discrimination, poverty and human rights abuses against local citizens".

The Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR) was proclaimed by the Polisario Front on 27 February 1976, in Bir Lehlu, Western Sahara. SADR claims sovereignty over the entire territory of Western Sahara, a former Spanish colony; however, at present the SADR government controls only about 20–25% of the territory it claims. It calls the territories under its control the "Liberated Territories".

Brahim Ghali Sahrawi diplomat and politician

Brahim Ghali is the current president of the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR) and former SADR Ambassador to Algeria. Ghali has served as a historic figure and played a key role in the struggle of the Sahrawi people for self-determination and independence from Morocco. He was instrumental in the creation of the Movement for the Liberation of the Saguia el Hamra and Wadi el Dhahab, the 1970 Zemla Intifada against Spanish rule, the foundation of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Saguia el-Hamra and Río de Oro in 1973, and the Sahrawi Republic in 1976. He also played a major role in the Western Sahara War and establishment of MINURSO, the UN peacekeeping mission for the Western Sahara.

Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic–South Africa relations Diplomatic relations between Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic and the Republic of South Africa

Sahrawi Republic–South Africa relations are the current and historical relations between the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR) in Western Sahara and the Republic of South Africa. Formal diplomatic relations were established at ambassador level in 2004, during the Thabo Mbeki government. A Sahrawi embassy was opened in Pretoria, and the South-African embassy in Algiers was accredited to the SADR.

Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic Partially recognised state of Western Sahara

The Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic is a partially recognized de facto sovereign state located in the western Maghreb, which claims the non-self-governing territory of Western Sahara, but controls only the easternmost one-fifth of that territory. Between 1884 and 1975, Western Sahara was known as Spanish Sahara, a Spanish colony. The SADR is one of the two African states in which Spanish is a significant language, the other being Equatorial Guinea.

Khadidja Hamdi is a Sahrawi politician and activist. She is one of two women ministers in the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR) Government and holds the post Minister for Culture.

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