Despite the imbroglio around Western Sahara, a territory claimed by both Morocco and the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR), proclaimed by the Polisario Front in 1976, some countries intend to open their consulate general in Dakhla, including Senegal, reports Le360.ma. The inauguration ceremony is scheduled for Monday, April 5 « in the presence of the heads of diplomacy of the two countries, » the same source said.
Senegal celebrates the 61st anniversary of its accession to power this Sunday, April 4, 2021. The next day, the Senegalese Consulate General is expected to open its doors in Dakhla, a city located in Western Sahara, a disputed and non-autonomous territory according to the UN and under de facto administration of Morocco since its evacuation by Mauritania in 1979.
Senegal is a traditional ally of Morocco in Africa, having supported the Kingdom’s autonomy plan for Western Sahara. Nevertheless, the country has not followed the example of Morocco’s other partners on the continent, such as Côte d’Ivoire, Gabon, Guinea or Burkina Faso, which very early on opened consulates in the Sahara.
The Macky Sall government has remained on the sidelines of the process initiated since 2019, while some states, having recognised the « Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic » in the past, have joined it, such as Zambia. In total, 21 countries have already opened consulates in Laayoune and Dakhla.
In Dakhla, this is the case of Gambia, Guinea, Djibouti, Liberia, Burkina Faso, Guinea Bissau, Equatorial Guinea, Haiti as well as the Democratic Republic of Congo and the United States. In the city of Laayoune, the Union of Comoros, Gabon, Central African Republic, Sao Tome and Principe, Burundi, Ivory Coast, Eswatini, Zambia and Jordan have opened theirs.
The opening of the Senegalese consulate sounds, moreover, like a disavowal of the last communiqué of the Peace and Security Council of the African Union, of 18 March, calling on the UN secretary general « to ask the UN legal adviser to provide a legal opinion on the opening of consulates in the non-self-governing territory of Western Sahara.