After talks with Morocco, Peru has cut all diplomatic ties with the Western Sahara area. The President of the South American nation made the announcement yesterday through the country’s foreign ministry in a communiqué made available to the public.
The decision to cut ties with the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR), which claims the disputed territory of Western Sahara, is in order for it to strengthen ties with Morocco.
In a statement released by the Foreign Ministry in Peru, “The government of the Republic of Peru has decided to withdraw its recognition” of the SADR “and to sever all relations with this entity.”
You will recall that the diplomatic relations between Peru and the SADR were restored 11 months ago by radical left-wing President Pedro Castillo. So, the news will undoubtedly come as a huge disappointment to the SADR.
The SADR, self-proclaimed in 1976, is an offshoot of the Polisario Front, a Sahrawi organization that calls for the independence of Western Sahara, which Morocco almost entirely controls. This former Spanish colony is considered a “non-self-governing territory” by the UN.
Currently, Morocco controls 80% of the territory and advocates autonomy under its exclusive sovereignty, while the Polisario independence fighters, supported by Algeria, are calling for a referendum on self-determination.
According to reports, Peru’s government decided to cut ties with the Western Sahara area after a telephone conversation between Foreign Minister Miguel Rodriguez Mackay and his Moroccan counterpart Nasser Bourita.
Lima and Rabat “agreed to strengthen their bilateral relations through the immediate signing of a multisectoral roadmap that will include regular political consultations, effective cooperation in the economic, commercial, educational, energy and agricultural fields,” it continued.
The communiqué stressed that Peru “appreciates and respects the territorial integrity of the Kingdom of Morocco and its national sovereignty” and supports the autonomy plan presented by Rabat to resolve the conflict.
Peru recognized the SADR on 16 August 1984, but President Alberto Fujimori (1990-2000) suspended diplomatic relations in 1996. In one of his first foreign policy decisions, Pedro Castillo re-established them in September 2021.
In a statement issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Rabat, Morocco “welcomes the decision of the Republic of Peru to withdraw its recognition of the pseudo ‘SADR’ and to support the territorial integrity of the Kingdom and its autonomy initiative.
On the other hand, the new left-wing Colombian President Gustavo Petro, who took office at the beginning of August, has just decided to resume diplomatic relations with the SADR, which had been frozen since 2001.
As a result of the dispute between Morocco and the Algerian-backed Western Sahara area, the border between Algeria and Morocco has been closed since 1994.
In fact, the disputed status of Western Sahara – a former Spanish colony considered a “non-autonomous territory” by the United Nations – has pitted Morocco against the Polisario Front since the 1970s.
Rabat, which controls nearly 80 percent of the territory, is pushing for autonomy under its sovereignty. The Polisario Front, however, wants a United Nations-sponsored referendum on self-determination.
About Western Sahara
Western Sahara is a disputed territory on the northwest coast and in the Maghreb region of North and West Africa. About 20% of the territory is controlled by the self-proclaimed Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic, while the remaining 80% of the territory is occupied and administered by neighboring Morocco.
It was founded on 14 November 1975, and its capital is Laayoune.
Source: Aljazeera, Africa News