As part of the citizen run show « Sahara Debate », Mr. Panja Ramanoelina, former Minister of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries, Professor at the University of Antananarivo, member of the Board of Directors of the "Agence universitaire de la Francophonie" AUF, former President of the University of Antananarivo from 2003 to 2008, intervened to raise public awareness on the role of the African Union in supporting the United Nation's consideration of the regional dispute over the Moroccan Sahara and to highlight the evolution of support in Africa and in the world to the Moroccanity of the Sahara, most notably materialized by the opening of more Consulates General in Laâyoune and Dakhla
Former Malagasy Minister explains that from the start of the regional dispute over the Moroccan Sahara and since the withdrawal of the Spanish colonial power in 1975, the Kingdom of Morocco has been determined to settle this dispute peacefully. As a result, Morocco proposed in 2007 to grant the Sahara region large autonomy within the framework of Morocco's sovereignty aimed at reaching a definitive solution to this issue.
After the failure of the OAU mediation and the transfer of this issue to the United Nations, a UN process has been initiated in 1985. The African Union has made two important decisions in this regard, he adds.
Mr. Ramanoelina referred to African Union decision 653 of July 2017 which stipulates that the efforts of the African Organization come in support of those of the United Nations and that it commits the Presidents of the African Union and the African Union Commission to ensure appropriate support for the efforts of the Secretary General of the United Nations to reach a political and final solution to this regional dispute, on the basis of the framework agreement signed between the United Nations and the AU on May 19, 2017 in New York.
For the Malagasy university professor, this decision reaffirms the exclusivity of the UN in the consideration of this regional dispute over the Moroccan Sahara. Thus, UN efforts leave no room for any mention of the referendum option.
The Malagasy politician refers to the important decision 693, adopted at the AU Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the Nouakchott Summit, in 2018, which commits the African Union to the like other regional organizations, to give their full support to the political process launched by the United Nations.
Mr. Ramanoelina said this decision also established a mechanism made up of the Chairperson of the AU Commission and the Troika (outgoing, current and next Chair) to follow up on the issue of Moroccan Sahara in its treatment by United Nations.
To support his remarks, the former Malagasy State Commissioner, cited the Marrakech Ministerial Conference on the African Union's support for the United Nations political process on the regional dispute over the Moroccan Sahara, held in March 2019, which saw the participation of 37 African countries, from the five sub-regions of the Continent, and who agreed to implement the wise and concerted vision of the Heads of State and Government whose decision which reaffirms the exclusivity of the UN in the search for a political and lasting solution to the question of the Moroccan Sahara was recorded at the 31st Summit of the AU.
These same positions were reiterated at the last Summit of Heads of State and Government on February 09, 2020 in Addis Ababa by the AU High Representative, Mr. Moussa Faki, he explains, while underlining that the role of the African Union comes in complement and not in substitution for the efforts of the United Nations.
Mr. Ramanoelina recalled also that the resolutions of the United Nations Security Council, the only body in the consideration of the regional dispute over the Moroccan Sahara, has always deemed the Moroccan autonomy initiative as credible and serious.
On a completely different note, the former Malagasy Minister wanted to take stock of the growing development of support in Africa and in the world, brought to Morocco in the quest for the completion of its territorial integrity, by affirming that more than 30 member states of the African Union support the sovereignty of Morocco over the Sahara.
For Mr. Ramanoelina, this recognition of the sovereignty of Morocco over its Sahara has recently resulted in the decision of many African countries to open Consulates General in the Southern Provinces, which constitutes an act of sovereignty obeying the rules and diplomatic uses.
Since the Union of the Comoros opened its Consulate General in Laâyoune on December 18, 2019, several African States representing the four sub-regions of the Continent (Southern Africa, West Africa, Africa Central and East Africa) proceeded in less than three months to the opening of their consular representations in the Moroccan Sahara, he said.
In addition to the Comoros, Mr. Ramanoelina notably cited, among others, The Gambia, Guinea, Gabon, CAR, Sao-Tomé and Principe and Burundi and Djibouti which proceeded to the opening of their Consulates General in Laâyoune and Dakhla.
For the former Malagasy Minister, this dynamic is now irreversible as other countries have announced the upcoming opening of their Consulates General in Laayoune and Dakhla.
Then, the Malagasy statesman highlighted the influence enjoyed by the Southern Provinces which host diplomatic conferences of international scope, citing in particular the 3rd Morocco-Pacific Islands States Forum, held last February in Laâyoune.
In this regard, Mr. Ramanoelina affirmed that this Conference was sanctioned by the adoption of the Laâyoune Declaration where the Pacific Islands States formalized their long-standing support for Morocco's positions within the United Nations and in other International Organizations on the issue of the Moroccan Sahara.
In his conclusion, the former Malagasy Minister stressed that more and more countries are convinced by the Moroccan autonomy initiative which constitutes the only political solution to the dispute over the Moroccan Sahara and wished the Kingdom of Morocco to persevere its wisdom.