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Date of posting : August 30, 2018

Sahara Issue: AU’s Decision to Support UN-led Process, ‘Big Win” for Morocco 

The decision of the African Union (AU) to limit its own efforts in the Sahara issue in order to support the process led by the United Nations is a ‘big win’ for Morocco, the Institute for Security Studies (ISS) said in an analysis published on its website.

At its 31st summit in Nouakchott, Mauritania, the African Union (AU) decided to limit its own peace efforts in the Sahara issue in order to support the process led by the United Nations (UN), the Pretoria-based think tank pointed out, adding that this support will be through a troika of heads of state, together with the AU Commission (AUC) chairperson.
The move is a ‘big win’ for Morocco, the source noted.
Morocco’s return to the AU and subsequent election to the Peace and Security Council (PSC) in January 2018 has brought a new dimension to the AU’s approach to the crisis in the Sahara, it said.
The new decision also states that the AU will engage the issue mainly at the level of the newly established troika, which is made up of the outgoing, current and incoming AU chairpersons and the AUC chairperson, the source added, noting that the troika will provide support to the UN process and report directly to the AU Assembly and, if need be, the PSC, but only at the level of heads of state.
The AU’s decision in July 2018 to fully support the UN process in order to resolve tensions between member states could therefore be seen as “a victory” for Morocco, the ISS said, adding that the assembly appealed to the parties in the conflict ‘to urgently resume negotiations without pre-conditions and in good faith under the auspices of the Secretary-General of the UN, whose Security Council is seized of the matter’.
This decision is also in line with the outcome of the UN meeting in April 2018 that urged member states to support the UN peace process, which involves negotiations between the parties, it said.