Southern Africa: SADC Wants Africa to Call the Shots On Western Sahara

Sparsely populated Western Sahara consists mainly of desert.

Southern African Development Community solidarity conference says the United Nations can't run the peace process on its own.

South Africa and the Southern African Development Community (SADC) have demanded a prominent role for the African Union (AU) in trying to end Morocco's "illegal" occupation of Western Sahara and exploitation of its natural resources.

This was agreed at a high-level SADC conference in solidarity with Western Sahara which ended in Pretoria on Tuesday. President Cyril Ramaphosa and several other heads of state and government, as well as other representatives, pledged support for the right to self-determination of the Saharawi people.

"You stood by South Africa during the struggle for our own liberation, and today you are here to affirm your solidarity with the Saharawi people in their quest for self-determination," Ramaphosa said.

The 20 African countries present, 14 from the 16-nation SADC, plus representatives of "progressive" international allies -- Cuba, Venezuela, Nicaragua and Timor Leste -- as well political parties and civil society, adopted a declaration which included several measures to re-activate the AU's diplomacy in trying to resolve the impasse between Morocco and the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR) over ownership of Western Sahara.

Morocco regards Western Sahara, which lies...

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