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Despite Morocco’s discontent, a Polisario delegation attends a TICAD meeting

A Polisario delegation attended on June 10th and 11th, preparations for the Summit on the Seventh Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD 7). The presence of the Front was previously denounced by Morocco during two former meetings.

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A Ticad meeting. / Ph. DR

On Monday and Tuesday, the African Union and the Japanese government held preparatory meetings, in Addis Ababa, for the 7th edition of the Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD), scheduled for August the 28th, 29th and 30th in Yokohama.

The African Union Headquarters hosted the «senior officials meeting comprising ambassadors and other senior officials to prepare for the Summit of African Heads of States and Japan», the Zambian press agency Mwebantu reported.

Preps in Ethiopia were also attended by a Polisario delegation, the Front’s press agency SPS said on Wednesday. Earlier this week, the separatist movement’s representative in Ethiopia Lamen Abaali as well as the Polisario’s «cultural attaché» Ouidadi Salek were present at the meetings.

«This participation reiterates the right of Sahrawis to attend all meetings and summits co-organized by the African Union», SPS added.

The Polisario, Morocco and former TICAD meetings

The Front’s participation to TICAD, which was denounced by Morocco, had made headlines in the past. In October 2018 and during a meeting in Japan, held to prepare for TICAD 7, a Moroccan delegation protested against the presence of a Polisario representative.

Headed by Minister delegate in charge of African Cooperation Mohcine Jazouli, the Moroccan delegation left the TICAD meeting held in Tokyo after realizing that a Polisario representative was invited to the same event.

Commenting on what happened at TICAD, Japan's Foreign Minister stated that «even if an entity, which declares itself as a 'country' and that Japan does not recognize, is sitting in this room, it does not mean that Japan recognizes it in any way implicitly or explicitly as a state».

Despite this statement, the host country could not impose its authority on the countries supporting the Polisario within the African Union, and which accepted the participation of the Front's representatives.

In a TICAD summit held in August 2017 in Maputo, Mozambique, the Front was also present, preventing Morocco from participating to the conference. In the aftermath of this incident, the Japanese foreign minister promised his Moroccan counterpart to make a change at the Tokyo summit, describing what happened in Maputo as a mistake.

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