UN Secretary General envoy visit South Africa

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South Africa
South Africa

Invited by the Government of the Republic of South Africa, the Personal Envoy of the UN  Secretary-General for Western Sahara, Mr Staffan de Mistura, paid a visit to Pretoria on 31  January 2024 where he held meetings with South African senior officials on the issue of  Western Sahara.  

Yesterday, the representative of the occupying state of Morocco to the United Nations,  notorious for his tactless remarks and provocative behaviour, openly opposed South Africa’s  hosting of Mr de Mistura. He even dared to make unwarranted insinuations as to the Personal  Envoy’s “assessment” of the situation, and suggested insolently that the Personal Envoy should  have obtained prior “authorisation” from the occupying state of Morocco to conduct his visit.  

The representative of the occupying state of Morocco should know that it is within the mandate  of the Personal Envoy of the UN Secretary-General for Western Sahara to engage with Member  States, as confirmed recently by the Spokesperson for the UN Secretary-General, and that the  Personal Envoy represents and is accountable to the United Nations, not to the occupying state  of Morocco.  

Since his appointment as Personal Envoy of the UN Secretary-General for Western Sahara on  6 October 2021, Mr de Mistura visited several countries. His visit to Pretoria therefore falls  within his mandate, especially considering South Africa’s strong commitment to a rules-based  international order as well as its support for and promotion of peaceful and just solutions to  conflicts in Africa and beyond.  

South Africa’s unwavering defence of the decolonisation of Western Sahara and its strong  solidarity with the Sahrawi peoples testify to its strong commitment to peoples’ inalienable  right to self-determination and freedom in line with relevant precepts of international law. The  application presented recently by South Africa before the International Court of Justice (ICJ)  against Israel for its ongoing genocidal war against the Palestinian people is just one such  example of that commitment to the centrality of the rule of law and firm opposition to impunity.  

The rogue state of Morocco is in no position to preach to others about international law because  it continues to illegally occupy parts of Western Sahara, which is on the agenda of the United  Nations as a decolonisation issue. Moreover, it is well known that, at the same time as South  Africa is taking bold steps to hold Israel accountable for its continued crimes in Palestine, the  occupying state of Morocco, whilst shedding crocodile tears for the Palestinian people, is doing  everything in its power to undermine the Palestinian legitimate rights through overt collusion  with the Israeli occupation. 

It is beyond any doubt that the occupying state of Morocco has no political will whatsoever to  engage seriously and responsibly in the UN peace process in Western Sahara. The blackmailing  and threatening language used by the representative of the occupying state of Morocco in  relation to Mr de Mistura’s visit to South Africa is therefore another example of the calculated  and underhanded tactics employed by the occupying sate of Morocco vis-à-vis former Personal  Envoys of the UN Secretary-General for Western Sahara, leading most of them to resign for  one reason or another.  

In concluding, the Frente POLISARIO reiterates its commitment to cooperating with the efforts  of both the United Nations and the African Union with a view to bringing to conclusion the  decolonisation of Western Sahara, the last colony in Africa. Equally, the Frente POLISARIO  strongly reaffirms its unwavering commitment to defending, by all legitimate means, the 

inalienable, non-negotiable, and imprescriptible right of the Sahrawi people to self determination and independence. 

Dr Sidi M. Omar 

Ambassador, Representative of the Frente POLISARIO at the United Nations, and  Coordinator with MINURSO

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