The new United Nations Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, must take significant steps to guarantee the attainment of self-rule and determination for the people of the Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR), President Jacob Zuma said on Friday.
“We’ve had very important discussions among ourselves – the situation in Western Sahara [SARD], and also the slow pace, if it is a slow pace at all, of the UN to implement its decision or resolution [on SADR],” Zuma said, addressing reporters during a joint media briefing with visiting President of the SADR Brahim Ghali in Pretoria.
“We have stressed our commitment to support the people of Saharawi. We have been with them for many years, we are still with them and we will continue to be with them. We believe every country must have its own self determination, full freedom and we are very clear that we should be calling on the UN to implement its resolution. We hope the new secretary-general will add new impetus on process to conclude the implement of the UN resolution.”
Zuma said the continental bloc, the African Union, fully supported the independence of Western Sahara.
In September 2004, South Africa took the decision to recognise SADR after it became clear that Morocco had ruled out all possibilities for a referendum for Western Sahara, in contravention of the UN Security Council Resolution 1495 of 2003.
Zuma said Pretoria “wants to see its brothers and sisters free, running their country with no interference”.
Ghali, who is on an official working visit to South Africa, will also attend the ruling African National Congress’ 105th birthday celebration to be held at Orlando Stadium in Johannesburg this weekend.
Speaking through a translator, Ghali said meetings held with Zuma at the Sefako Makgatho Presidential Guesthouse on Friday had been “fruitful”.
“We have had the opportunity to learn from our brother, President Jacob Zuma, and we exchanged our viewpoints on many interesting topics. It was a meeting of two allies, friends and comrades in the struggle,” said Ghali.
“The Saharawi people are struggling to recover the total sovereignty of its state on all its national territory. They are unfortunately confronting a military occupation from a neighbouring state – the Kingdom of Morocco.”
Morocco contends that the Western Sahara, a former Spanish colony under its control, is an integral part of its kingdom, while the Polisario Front, which is campaigning for the territory’s independence, demands a referendum on self-determination.
– African News Agency (ANA)