African Union reaffirms neutrality on Sahara issue despite Algerian gas money
The standing decision-making organ of the African Union, the Peace and Security Council, issued its annual report without mentioning the Algeria-fueled conflict over southern Morocco, the Sahara.
The decision confirms once more the neutrality of the African Union, in line with its resolution 639 of July 2019, which considers the Sahara as an issue to be tackled within the exclusive UN framework, barring the road to adversaries of Morocco’s territorial integrity within the continental union who sought to create parallel mechanisms.
Algeria, and a few failed states that turn in its orbit, sought to influence the African Union rehashing their cold-war era pro-separatist rhetoric in vain.
Neutrality on the Sahara issue is a first step for the African Union towards repairing its historical fault of admitting the Polisario separatist entity under the influence of Algeria’s oil and gas money.
As the rest of Africa seeks win-win partnerships, investments and technology transfer to break away from the yoke of under development, Algeria’s president said he will offer 1 billion dollars to an agency he has created to help African states, in another bribe that fools no African state.
Algeria has to develop itself first before seeking to help others with development issues. As a country that decades after indepdence is still reliant on hydrocarbons for over 90% of its exports, Algeria embodies all that is wrong with development in Africa: authoritarianism, corruption, support for separatist militias and underdevelopment.
President Tebboune’s 1-billion-dollar announcement shows however that Algeria senses the days of the Polisario in the African Union are numbered and hence the generosity to buy political support in a forward-looking Africa that is breaking away with cold-war-era rhetoric. Algeria however is willing to squander money that could have been better used to alleviate the suffering of its own people that queues for basic staples.
On November 4, 2022, sixteen former African Prime Ministers and Foreign Ministers launched a solemn appeal from Tangier, demanding the expulsion of the pseudo-SADR from the African Union (AU).
The “Tangier Appeal” stressed the need to correct the historical anomaly, legal aberration and political misunderstanding that is the illegal and illegitimate admission, and then the unjustified maintenance within the continental organization of the pseudo-SADR and its negative operational impact.
The former African officials who signed the document believe that the accession of the puppet entity to the AU is “in violation of Articles 3(b) and 4(b) of the Constitutive Act of the African Union,” noting that the so-called Sahrawi Republic is “an artificial entity imposed on the sole Organization of African Unity/African Union, against all legitimacy and legality.”
According to the document, this artificial entity “does not fulfil any of the constituent elements of a state, namely a territory, a population and an effective government,” nor does it enjoy sovereignty, independence, or international legal responsibility.
On January 29, 2023, three other former Foreign Ministers signed the “Tangier Appeal” during the first follow-up meeting of the Appeal.
Already in 2017, 28 African states submitted a motion to the African Union requesting a freeze of Polisario’s membership in the African Union. The salient argument was that the Polisario lacks all state attributes as a separatist organization fed and hosted on the Algerian territory.
By staying neutral despite Algerian pressure and money, the African Union is also taking a first step to restore its legitimacy and correct its past bias, because offering membership to a separatist organization such as the Polisario has predjudged the outcome of the UN efforts and encourages other separatist groups to follow suit.
Morocco now is close to getting the support of 37 African Union members to vote for a resolution to freeze or suspend the Polisario’s membership, a move that will help the African Union to contribute to efforts to reach a UN solution to this territorial dispute opposing Rabat to Algiers.