The Sahrawi President of the Republic, Secretary General of the Polisario Front, Mr. Ibrahim Ghali, congratulated the Iranian President-elect Sayyed Ebrahim Raeisi .
The President of the Republic expressed his congratulations to his Iranian counterpart, on his own behalf and on behalf of the Sahrawi people and the Government.
In this vein, the Sahrawi President, currently hospitalized in Algeria, expressed willingness of the Sahrawi Republic to build brotherhood, friendship and cooperation relations between the two countries for the benefit of the two peoples.
Western Sahara is a Non-Self-Governing Territory of the UN that lies in the Sahel region bordered by Algeria, Kingdom of Morocco, and Mauritania. This territory is home to the Sahrawis, a collective name for the indigenous peoples living in and around the region. They speak the Hassaniya dialect of Arabic. Similarly, many others also speak Spanish as a second language due to the region’s colonial past. Their 50-year dispute broke out when the territory was first occupied by Morocco since November, 1975, as thousands of Moroccan civilians, flanked by the Moroccan military, crossed into the Western Sahara in defiance of Spain, which ruled the region since 1884, a step denounced by most countries and institutions, including the International Court of Justice which stated, few days before, that there was no “legal tie of territorial sovereignty between Western Sahara and the Moroccan State”. According to Adala UK, on the 6th of November 1975, Morocco organized what it called a “Green March” to officially invade the North of Western Sahara moving 350,000 Moroccan settlers to the territory. This occupation coincided with the termination of the Spanish status as Administrative Power, creating a vacuum which imposed on the UN to assume its responsibility there.
Subsequently, the United Nations Security Council called on Morocco to withdraw from the territory; however, its effort was in vain. It was obvious that Morocco was violating not only the UN Charter’s principles, such as abstention from “the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state”, but also the African Union Constitutive Act’s sacred principle of “respect of borders existing on achievement of independence”.
The International Court of Justice’s opinion of 1975 indicated, also, that the native Sahrawi people of Western Sahara are the only sovereign power in Western Sahara. It also considered that it “has not found legal ties of such a nature as might affect the application of resolution 1514 (XV) in the decolonization of Western Sahara and, in particular, of the principle of self-determination through the free and genuine expression of the will of the peoples of the Territory.” (para. 129, 162) (Adala UK).
This status quo did not please the Sahrawi people; in response to the Moroccan occupation, they mobilized for armed struggle under the leadership of the Polisario Front, successor of the liberation movement of Seguia el-Hamra and Oued ed-Dahab of Mohammed Bassiri, created on May, 10, 1973. This Frente has been recognized by the UN General Assembly Resolution 34/37 of 1979 as the sole legitimate representative of the Saharawi people.
Years later, precisely in 1991, the warring parties concluded a ceasefire agreement, culminating in the establishment of the UN Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO), which is assuming its responsibility till nowadays.
Despite a cease-fire in 1991 that put an end to the armed combat, Western Sahara remains a disputed territory. Nowadays, Morocco controls parts of the territory. However, the United Nations refers to the Western Sahara as a non-self-governing territory and maintains a stance favoring self-determination for its people.
UN body is attaching great interests to the Sahrawi cause, expressing willingness to find a solution ensuring the self-determination of the Sahrawi people, in accordance with the relevant resolutions of the Council. Several important judicial decisions concerning Western Sahara have been issued to assure Sahrawi’s full right to self-determination. To wit; Resolution 1514 of December 14, 1960, also known as the “Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples” amplifies the anti-colonial struggles of peoples and their full sovereignty. The declaration states: “Subjection of peoples to alien subjugation, domination and exploitation constitutes a denial of fundamental human rights”.
In December 2016 the European Court of Justice affirmed that a Non-Self-Governing Territory has a separate and distinct status from that of the administering state.
On December, 23rs, 2016, UN General Assembly Resolution 71/103 stated that any economic or other activity that has a negative impact on the interests of the peoples of the Non-Self-Governing Territories and on the exercise of their right to self-determination is contrary to the purposes and principles of the Charter” of the United Nations, referring to EU trade agreements with Morocco that includes the Sahrawi territory which has significant phosphate reserves and offshore fishing.
In 2017 the High Court stated that the territory of Western Sahara is Africa’s last colonized territory, vesting control of the natural resources of Western Sahara in the Saharawi people.
After years of war, the U.N. brokered a cease-fire in 1991 that called for a referendum on independence for Western Sahara, which is, to date, blocked by Morocco, was violated on 13 November 2020 by the Kingdom of Morocco that attacked civilians peacefully protesting in front of the illegal Guerguerat breach. Morocco, also, opened three new breaches within the Moroccan military wall in flagrant violation of the Military Agreement No. 1 signed between the Polisario Front and the Kingdom of Morocco under the auspices of the United Nations, in implementation of Security Council Resolution 690 of 1991, which provides for the organization of the referendum of self-determination for the Sahrawi people, and based on the decisions of the extraordinary session of the National Secretariat of the Polisario Front held on 07/11/2020, and the powers conferred upon him by the Basic Law of the Polisario Front and the constitution of the SADR.
Subsequently, Mr Brahim Ghali, the President of the Sahrawi Republic and Secretary General of the Polisario Front, issued a presidential decree on November 13, 2020, declaring the end of the commitment to the ceasefire, which the Moroccan occupation had undermined and the consequent resumption of armed struggle in defense of the legitimate rights of the Sahrawi people. War between the two countries remains in its heyday.
Morocco’s violation of the ceasefire in El-Guerguerat (southwest of Western Sahara) by attacking peaceful Sahrawi civilians has sparked a wave of international outrage and condemnation from a range of countries, regional and international organizations, including Algeria, UN, AU, South Africa, Germany etc, urging Morocco to stop hostilities and to comply with international law.