Media Statement

07 December 2020

Rebuttal of France.24 article dated 6 December 2020 on Western Sahara - Decision of the 14th Extraordinary Summit on Silencing the Guns, 6 December 2020

The South African Government strongly objects to the “fake news” published by France24.news in an article headlined, “South African President disowns Polisario separatists”. This article is totally untrue and fundamentally distorts the Decision taken at the 14th Extraordinary AU Summit on Silencing the Guns on Sunday, 6 December 2020. In the main, the article reflects the poorest standards possible in journalism.

The Extraordinary Summit expressed, “deep concern over the escalating military tensions between the Kingdom of Morocco and the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic that have developed in Al-Guerguerat”, and further, “calls for the revitalisation of the Troika Mechanism (current, previous and next Chairs of the African Union) agreed to in Decision 693 and to request the African Union Peace and Security Council at Heads of State and Government, in line with the relevant provisions of its Protocol, to engage the two countries both members of the African Union, to address the unfolding situation in order to prepare conditions for the self-determination of the people of Western Sahara in line with the relevant AU/UN decisions and resolutions and objectives and principles of the Constitutive Act of the African Union, further calls on the United Nations Secretary General to appoint a Special Envoy for Western Sahara”.

South Africa’s position on Western Sahara remains unchanged and unflinching, supporting the right to self-determination of the people of Western Sahara. As such, South Africa’s view is that Africa will not be free as long as one of the Member States of the African Union is under subjugation of oppression and colonised. South Africa supports all the peace initiatives either by the African Union or by the United Nations aimed at the resolution of the Western Sahara conflict.

The Summit Decision is a reiteration of the African Union’s and of South Africa’s previous positions, and affirms cooperation between the African Union and the United Nations in addressing this long-standing conflict.

Enquiries: Mr Clayson Monyela, Spokesperson for DIRCO, 082 884 5974

ISSUED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS AND COOPERATION

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