Japan reaffirms its rejection of separatism in Maghreb

Japan was the latest in a series of global powers that strongly reiterated their rejection of the Algerian-backed separatism in southern Morocco.

The Japanese stance on the Sahara issue was expressed by Middle East and North Africa director at the foreign ministry Katsuhiko Takahashi who reaffirmed his country’s non-recognition of the Polisario self-declared SADR republic, few days before the holding of the Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD) on August 28-30.

“Japan’s position remains steady and unchanged, and Japan does not intend to alter this position,” he told Morocco’s news agency MAP.

The Japanese foreign ministry has thus denied reports by Algerian media purporting a potential participation of SADR separatist entity in the TICAD summit.

In 2017, some pro-separatist states tried to impose Polisario’s participation in TICAD preparatory meetings, but the Japanese foreign ministry responded in a strong worded statement making it clear that “Japan does not recognize ‘Western Sahara’ as a state, either explicitly or tacitly”.

Japanese ambassador to Morocco also said recently that his country supports calls by King Mohammed VI for dialogue between Morocco and Algeria.

The Japanese position deals another blow to the separatist entity following positions expressed in the Wall Street Journal reflecting a US official position against the creation of a phony state in Africa.

Support for Morocco’s territorial integrity is a course that is set to continue as more countries in the African Union see the Polisario’s membership as an aberration in contradiction with international law because the Polisario is not a state and lacks state attributes. These include two-thirds of AU countries including African heavy-weights such as Nigeria and Ethiopia.

Meanwhile, Morocco is expanding its influence in the continent through active engagement along a solidarity based African policy yielding projects that address Africa’s pressing issues of economic and human development.

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