South Africa joins the African Union’s presidential troika on the Western Sahara issue

South Africa has joined the African Union presidential troika on the Sahara. Rabat will have to pay close attention to the presidential election in South Africa, which will shape the country’s position on the regional conflict.

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South Africa President Cyril Ramaphosa./Ph. DR

The African Union’s presidential troika in charge of monitoring the Western Sahara conflict has seen some changes in the last couple of days. Guinean President Alpha Condé, a close friend of the Kingdom, has ceded his position at the committee to his South African counterpart Cyril Ramaphosa, who will be heading the continental organization in 2020.

The decision of Alpha Condé has left Morocco with no ally to count on in the African Union troika, especially as Rabat cannot rely on Egyptian president Abdelfattah Al-Sissi’s efforts when it comes to the territorial dispute. Indeed, the Egyptian president has already approached the Polisario in the past.

As Ramaphosa joins the African Union body, the presidential troika holds its first meeting on the Sahara.

The Sahara, Morocco, Ramaphosa and the African National Congress

On Sunday, the Chairperson of the African Union Commission announced on his Twitter account that «this new mechanism will hold its first meeting on February the 10th». The troika will develop a «new roadmap that should enable the African Union to contribute, in a significant way, to the United Nation’s efforts to fully fulfill its role in the dossier», Moussa Faki Mahmat added.

However, this new change might not be appreciated by Moroccan officials, who have insisted that the United Nations is the only body that is entitled to deal with the territorial dispute and rejected the contribution of the continental organization. «The roadmap that Chad’s former Prime Minister is talking about is expected to be presented at the next AU summit scheduled for 2020», a well-informed source told Yabiladi on Monday.

Obviously, South Africa is expected to shape the abovementioned «roadmap», especially if Ramaphosa wins the presidential election scheduled for this year in South Africa. Morocco is expected to keep an eye on the situation in the country, which will have a real impact on South Africa’s position on the Western Sahara issue.

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