Media Remarks by President Cyril Ramaphosa at the State Visit by the Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic, Union Buildings, Tshwane, 18 October 2022
Your Excellency, President Brahim Ghali,
Members of the media,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
This morning I welcomed His Excellency Brahim Ghali, President of the Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic, to South Africa and to our seat of Government here at the Union Buildings.
South Africa and the Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic enjoy fraternal bilateral relations anchored not only on our shared history of struggle, but also on our common vision for the self-determination of the people of Western Sahara.
This year marks the 46th anniversary of the illegal occupation of Western Sahara by the Kingdom of Morocco.
It is also 31 years since the United Nations Security Council Resolution 690 of 1991, which made provision for an UN-supervised referendum that would allow the Saharawi people to determine their own destiny.
Morocco’s illegal occupation of Western Sahara remains a matter of concern to both Africa and the international community.
Until the people of Western Sahara are able to exercise their right to self-determination, the decolonisation of Africa will be incomplete.
As a country whose freedom was attained with the assistance of international support and solidarity, South Africa stands with the Saharawi people in their struggle against illegal occupation.
That is why South Africa continues to maintain strong bilateral relations with the Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic, which we formally recognised on 15 September 2004.
South Africa has continued to reiterate its principled position in support of the peace efforts of the African Union and the United Nations on the protracted Western Sahara conflict.
On 26 March 2019, South Africa hosted the SADC Solidarity Conference with the Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic.
The conference reflected our commitment, as the countries of Southern Africa, supported by our friends in the international community, to a just, acceptable and lasting solution to the situation in Western Sahara.
This state visit should send a strong signal that South Africa will continue to strive for the self-determination of the Saharawi people and that South Africa’s position on Western Sahara remains unchanged and resolute.
This visit has helped to strengthen and consolidate the fraternal relations between our two countries.
It has provided an opportunity to exchange views on recent developments related to the question of Western Sahara.
We have agreed to continue to work together to mobilise regional, continental and international support towards a sustainable resolution to the Western Sahara conflict in line with the provisions of the 1991 Ceasefire Agreement.
We reiterate the need to return to direct dialogue between the Kingdom of Morocco and the Polisario Front without preconditions.
We will continue to advocate for the active participation of African countries in the resolution of the issue of Western Sahara.
We call on the Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic and the Kingdom of Morocco – as Member States of the African Union – to prepare conditions for a new ceasefire and a just and durable solution to the conflict.
As the African continent, we must remain true to the Constitutive Act of the African Union.
As the international community, we must affirm the principles of the United Nations Charter, uphold international law and implement the resolutions of the UN Security Council.
Once again, I wish to thank President Brahim Ghali for the fruitful discussions we have had this morning and assure him of the continued support of the Government and people of South Africa for the struggle of the people of Western Sahara.
I thank you.
Issued by: The Presidency