Zimbabwe: Zim Throws Weight Behind Saharawi

26 March 2019

President Mnangagwa arrived here yesterday for the Sadc Solidarity Conference with the Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic, where regional leaders are expected to express the region's support towards de-colonisation and right to self-determination of the people of Western Sahara.

He was received at the Lanseria International Airport outside Pretoria by South African Deputy International Relations and Cooperation Minister Reginah Mhaule and Zimbabwean Ambassador to South Africa Mr David Hamadziripi.

The President is accompanied to the conference by Zanu-PF chairperson Cde Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri, Secretary for administration Dr Obert Mpofu, Secretary for external relations Cde Simbarashe Mumbengegwi and Secretary for youth affairs Cde Pupurai Togarepi.

The SADR is the only African country still under colonisation by fellow continental nation Morocco since 1975.

The two day solidarity conference, co-hosted by South Africa and Namibia was approved by the 38th Ordinary Summit of Heads of State and Government of SADC in Windhoek in August last year.

"During the solidarity conference, the SADC Heads of State and Government will express the region's support for de-colonisation and self-determination for Western Sahara on the basis of the values and principles that have guided the quest for independence throughout Africa," read Sadc the Press release.

"SADC's collaboration on and with Western Sahara has been informed by the region's own de-colonisation experiences and the quest for liberation and self-determination."

At the end, the solidarity conference is expected to conclude with the adoption of a SADC Regional Strategy and a Declaration which will among others, establish mechanisms to engage relevant stakeholders and partners including Morocco, to observe the spirit of African Union (AU) decisions and United Nations resolutions in order to expedite the resolution of the Western Sahara matter.

The bloc also seeks to support to Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR)'s right to self-determination and independence based on the principle of self-determination and de-colonisation through the holding of a referendum.

Sadc also wants to support SADR based on four principles of, "multilateralism and international legality in seeking a just, lasting and mutually acceptable political solution, which will provide for the self-determination and independence of the people of Western Sahara.

Sanctity of inherited colonial borders in Africa and the right of peoples of former colonial territories to self-determination and independence as contained in the Constitutive Act of the AU.

"Respect of international human rights law in the occupied territories, notably the right to freedom of association, assembly, movement and expression and respect of international humanitarian law and the end of the illegal exploration and exploitation of the natural resources of Western Sahara in the illegally occupied territory and the discouragement of the involvement of foreign companies in such activities."

In his maiden speech at the United Nations General Assembly in New York in September last year, President Mnangagwa urged the world to take seriously the plight of people living under foreign occupation in the SADR.

"On the African continent, it is equally disheartening that the people of Western Sahara are yet to exercise their inalienable right to self-determination.

"We call on the Security Council to insist on the holding of an independent referendum for the Saharawi people without delay, in compliance to the relevant decisions of the African Union and the resolutions of the United Nations," he said.

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