The participation of the Monarch in the event coincides with a working and friendly visit to Côte d’Ivoire, Morocco’s enduring political ally and key economic partner in West Africa.
The attendance of the King in the summit shows that the empty seat policy is over and that Morocco will defend its interests and make its voice heard regarding its strategic interests.
The proponents of separatism in the continent, notably Algeria and South Africa, have lobbied for the participation of the Polisario separatist entity under the guise that it is a member of the African Union.
The confirmation of the Polisario’s participation was made in Brussels by the Chairman of the AU Commission Moussa Faki Mahamat who affirmed that all “members” of the pan-African organization will take part in the event, though he did not say all member states. The host country of the event, Côte d’Ivoire, has not extended any invitation to the separatists it does not recognize.
The EU for its part maintains that it does not recognize the separatist Polisario entity and will not recognize it even it attends the Summit. For the EU, the participation of the Polisario is an issue to be resolved within the AU.
As the alliance of the Polisario proponents erodes in the continent with the collapse in Zimbabwe of Mugabi’s regime and the impending erosion of the ideological ties feeding into the Polisario separatist thesis, support for Morocco’s territorial integrity grows in tandem with its south-south cooperation approach in the continent.
The participation of the King in the event sends a strong message that Morocco will not leave its chair empty and that its political, economic and cultural weight are incomparable with a puppet state whose strings are pulled by the military regime in Algeria.
As a part of Africa gears in full speed on the path of development and democracy, Polisario proponents came to represent all that is wrong with Africa, authoritarianism, corruption and rentier economy. Their contribution is as anachronistic to the continent’s pressing issues as they are a source of instability.
The EU as a regional grouping and as member states do not recognize the Polisario. Hence the attendance of the separatist entity is de facto excluded in the proceedings of the event.
Moreover two-thirds of the African Union members do not recognize the Polisario as a state. Twenty-eight of these members have actually tabled a motion last year demanding the expulsion of the Polisario from the pan-African organization.
The very membership of the Polisario in the African Union is an aberration and anomaly at odds with the international law. The freezing of the Polisario’s membership hinges on the depletion of Algeria’s oil mantra, which enabled it to buy support of like-minded states in Africa at an age of ideological polarization.