Burkina Faso will be the next state to open a diplomatic representation in the Moroccan Sahara region, as part of an African push to show support for Morocco’s territorial integrity and sovereignty over the southern territory.
Burkina Faso will thus be the seventh state to open a consulate in the Sahara after Comoros, Gambia, Gabon, Central African Republic, Sao Tome and Côte d’Ivoire.
The decision was approved by Burkina Faso’s government at a ministerial council on Wednesday and a decree was issued for that purpose.
Other African countries will follow suit as Morocco continues to strengthen its foothold through win-win partnerships in the African continent notably following its return to the African Union.
The growing support for Morocco’s sovereignty over its Sahara territory has irked the Polisario separatists and their mentor Algeria who went as far as insulting the sovereign states that opened their consulates in Laayoune and Dakhla as “small states.”
Opening consulates by African states in southern Morocco is also reflective of waning interest in the Algerian-funded Polisario within Africa.
It is true that Algerian oil-money earned the Polisario self-proclaimed republic a recognition in 1984, but the sands have shifted violently in favor of Morocco whose return to the African Union in late 2017 was preceded by a motion signed by 28 African states calling for a freeze of the separatist entity’s membership.
Morocco’s return to the African Union was a bulwark against attempts to use the African organization to serve separatist aims. Morocco and its friends on the continent managed to secure the African Union’s neutrality.
Ethiopia, Nigeria and Rwanda and other English speaking states in Africa have all refrained from backing the Polisario claims while supporting the UN efforts and UN Security Resolutions, which all stress primacy of Morocco’s autonomy initiative as a credible solution to the over-three decade conflict.
Thirty-seven countries from across Africa, making up two-third of the African Union members, do not recognize Polisario’s statehood.
Many African states deplore the membership of Polisario in the African Union as it represents an aberration that prejudged the outcome of negotiations in total disregard for the UN process and for Morocco’s historical rights as a country that was divided by two colonial powers.
Since Morocco regained its membership, the AU has remedied its past biases towards Morocco through decision 693, which states clearly that the Sahara should be tackled only within the UN framework barring the road to adversaries of Morocco’s territorial integrity within the African Union who sought to create a parallel mechanism.