Wide Angle

After contradicting statements, Lesotho confirms its position on the Sahara issue

Months after it made a U-turn on its Western Sahara stance, Lesotho announced through its Foreign Minister, Tuesday, its final position on the territorial dispute. In Rabat, the Minister showed support for Morocco.

Lesotho's Foreign Affairs Minister and his Moroccan counterpart Nasser Bourita, Tuesday in Rabat. / DR
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The Foreign Affairs Minister of Lesotho Lesego Calayl Makghoti, who is also the special envoy of said country’s Prime Minister, visited Morocco on Tuesday. In Rabat, the Southern African senior official was received by his Moroccan counterpart Nasser Bourita and Speaker of the Parliament Habib El Malki.

In a statement that followed the meeting, the Kingdom of Lesotho stressed that the visit was to «develop and strengthen bilateral relations with the Kingdom of Morocco».

In the same communiqué, Makghoti announced that his meetings in Rabat have allowed him to «get a deeper understanding of the issue of Western Sahara». «We conducted a thorough evaluation of the effectiveness of the Kingdom of Lesotho’s position concerning this regional dispute», he added.

«This evaluation of promoting a just and peaceful solution of this regional conflict will best be served by a ‘neutral’ yet strong support of the Kingdom of Lesotho to the ongoing UN-led process under the guidance of the United Nations Secretary General and supervision of the UN Secretary General», Makghoti said.

Lesotho confirms its final decision

The official recalled that on October 4, 2019, his government has already announced in a note that the country has decided to «suspend all its decisions and statements related to Western Sahara and ‘SADR’».

«I regret that this national position has been subjected to some misunderstandings. I am here today to confirm and clarify my country’s position which is : a commitment to suspend all previous decisions and statements related to Western Sahara and ‘SADR’, pending the outcome of the United Nations process».

«This position will be communicated to SADC and African Union, and will act accordingly in regional and international fora», he said, adding that «any different statement or document, be it before or after this official position, will be void and have no value».

For the record, Morocco’s Foreign Ministry announced on October 4 that the landlocked kingdom surrounded by South Africa froze its recognition of «SADR». It further explained that Maseru «supports the UN-led political process» and prefers to observe «positive neutrality» when it comes to regional and international meetings.

However, a few days later, Lesotho, which had been recognizing «SADR» since 1985, made a U-turn on its decision, sending a reassuring letter to the Polisario Front.

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