The European Union has reaffirmed that it would not give a green light’ to the Algeria-supported Polisario Front. “The EU shall not recognize the SADR even if it participates in the EU-Africa Summit”, EU spokesperson Catherine Ray commented. The upcoming EU-Africa summit is scheduled to take place in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, from 29-30 November. “Any participation in this summit, as is the case for all international meetings of this nature, does not mean a change of the EU’s position regarding the non-recognition of SADR,” Ms. Ray added.
The SADR – the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic – that was proclaimed by the Polisario Front in 1976 is partially recognized as controlling a thin strip of area in the Western Sahara region, though it is claiming sovereignty over the entire territory of Western Sahara. Polisario is a former communist liberation force and a Sahrawi rebel national liberation movement aiming to end Moroccan presence in the Western Sahara.
While the EU clearly would not recognize the SADR even if it takes part in the summit, EU spokesperson also stressed that during the preparation of the summit, “it was possible to ask some questions about the participation of a particular member of the organizations concerned, particularly with regards to SADR,” she said. “In this regards, our constant position has been to give each party, the African Union and the European Union, the responsibility for their respective list of participants,” she added.
This firm statement has effectively dashed the hopes nurtured by Algeria that the Polisario’s participation in the summit would pave the way towards its recognition by the EU. This is all more frustrating especially given the fact that even within the African Union, most member states do not recognize the SADR.