West African country Cote d’Ivoire is inaugurating, Wednesday June 26, an honorary consulate in the city of Laayoune. An invitation letter for the inauguration ceremony of the new honorary consulate, which was shared on social media, shows that the event will be attended by Ivory coast’s honorary consul.
A senior official from Cote d’Ivoire’s embassy in Rabat confirmed to Yabiladi that the new honorary consulate will open its doors Wednesday in Laayoune. «Cote d’Ivoire’s Ambassador extraordinary and plenipotentiary to Morocco (his excellency Idrissa Traoré) is currently visiting Laayoune to attend the inauguration ceremony», the same source revealed.
«This facility is expected to cover the city of Dakhla and the Kingdom’s entire southern region and like any other honorary consulate, it will fulfill its mission», the official said.
A decision that angered the Polisario
Surprised by the news, pro-Polisario newspaper Futuro Sahara relayed the invitation sent by the new honorary consulate on the occasion of its inauguration. The platform denounced the creation of the diplomatic facility, stressing that the «African Union must pressure (Cote d’Ivoire) into respecting the exceptional status of the Western Sahara region».
In the absence of an official reaction to the inauguration, the pro-Polisario outlet quoted a Facebook post written by a Saharawi activist. «The decision of opening an honorary consulate in Laayoune violates international law and it is an obstacle to the peace process», he argued.
«The Republic of Côte d'Ivoire has thus become part of this dispute because its decision violates the rights of the people of Western Sahara», the same activist added.
Cote d’Ivoire, an African ally for Morocco
The opening of an honorary consulate in the city of Laayoune is definitely a step that shows country's support for Morocco. It also endorses the position of Yamoussoukro on the Western Sahara question. In March, the West African nation was among the countries that attended the African Ministerial Conference on the African Union's support to the United Nations political process on the regional dispute, held in Marrakech.
When Abidjan was hosting in November, 2017, an African Union-European Union Summit it refused to send an invitation to the Polisario Front. At the time, an Ivorian senior official justified his country’s decision, stating : «We do not recognize this state and have informed the Chairperson of the African Union Commission (Moussa Faki) about it. We finance this meeting and we will be inviting whoever we want».
A delegation from the Polisario ended up attending the summit, after Faki and the High Representative for Foreign Policy and Security of the European Union Federica Mogherini put pressure on the hosting country.
For the record, Ivory Coast is one of the African countries that do not recognize «SADR» and is also one of the African Union member states that signed a motion against the Front in 2016.