Saharawi Arab Republic grateful to Ghana for support, Saturday,January 25,2014
The Saharawi Arab Republic Ambassador to Ghana has commended Ghana for its support for his country in its fight against Moroccan colonial rule.
Ambassador Mahayub Buyema acknowledged Ghana’s position which supported Saharawi Republic’s right to exist as an independent state in line with the United Nations (UN) resolutions.
Currently, there are Ghanaian troops in that country on a peacekeeping mission.
Speaking during a courtesy call on the Editor of the Daily Graphic, Mr Ransford Tetteh, the ambassador recounted Ghana’s continuous diplomatic support for the western Saharan country that had been under Moroccan rule since 1976, in spite of a bloody war that ended in 1991.
Making a case for an independent Saharawi, he said: “The problem of Saharawi is a problem of colonisation. The resolutions are clear that we want a referendum. If the people of Saharawi want to be independent, that is their right, and it should be their prerogative as well if they want to be part of Morocco; it should not be imposed on them.”
The Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR) was created on February 27, 1976, when Spain abdicated its legal responsibilities and relinquished its control over Western Sahara without organising a referendum.
In 1982, the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) admitted the SADR as a member, acknowledging its status as the sovereign government of Western Sahara.
Morocco annexed Western Sahara after the Spanish settlers pulled out in 1975. The result was a long-running battle with the Polisario Front, a leading Saharawi independent movement, until 1991.
Morocco’s claims to the territory relied on the fact that Western Sahara was part of the Greater Maghreb –a territory in Northern Africa that was historically allied with the Moroccan Sultanate and fought as part of the Moroccan Liberation Army against Spain.
The International Court of Justice in 1976 acknowledged such ties but determined that they were not sufficient to prove Moroccan sovereignty over the territory.
Although the United Nations (UN) recognised the occupation of Saharawi as illegal, it failed to speed up the process of independence for Samaria.
The UN has maintained a peacekeeping mission meant to hold a referendum on the autonomy of Sahara (MINUS) since 1991, but it has no mandate to monitor human rights abuses, a skeleton staff, and thanks to France’s Security Council veto which has failed to produce a referendum for 23 years now.
Under pressure from the international community, Morocco, last year, presented an autonomy plan for the western Saharan country.
But Mr Mazur maintained that Saharawi was not a Moroccan territory and its independence should not be at the whims and caprices of Morocco.
“The Saharawi people need to exercise their right to self-determination. The Moroccans and all other interest groups could submit their proposals about settlement but the ultimate decision as to whether to become independent, autonomous or part of Morocco rests with our people.”
While the military option is on the table, the leadership of the country, the ambassador said, preferred the political alternative because of the casualties of war.
He, however, indicated that the patience of Saharawians was running out and they would pursue all means, including the military option if that was what would ensure their country’s independence.
Support for Saharawi
Mr Ransford Tetteh, for his part, said the world had become a global village where what was happening in Saharawi Republic should be of concern to all.
“All of us must jointly fight together to ensure that Morocco respected the UN resolution so that all of us can contribute to the development of our continent,” he noted.
“It is sad that most of the things you can hear about our continent on the international media is about wars, famine, disease and poverty. There are other areas of celebration. Africans are hardworking people, struggling to lift themselves out of these difficulties. The only way out is for our leaders to bond and fight to ensure that every African is free to determine his or her own future,” he said.