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HH sides with Morocco over Western Sahara

President Hakainde Hichilema says Zambia recognises Morocco’s rights to occupy Western Sahara. Western Sahara is a disputed territory in West Africa currently under the colony of Morocco. It is one of the few countries still under colonialism, although of another African country. Western Sahara is however recognized by the UN and more than 80 countries. Zambia, under funding President Dr Kenneth Kaunda recognized Western Sahara as country on October 12, 1979. On March 29, 2011, then President Rupiah Banda withdrew Zambia’s recognition of Western Sahara after intense lobbying by Morocco. On February 19, 2016, then Edgar Lungu decided to recognize Western Sahara again and even accused Morocco of colonizing another Africa country.

President Lungu even swore in Western Sahara Ambassador Salam El-Mami at State House. But in July 2016, then Foreign Affairs Minister Harry Kalaba held a press conference in Morocco and announced that Zambia has cut all diplomatic relations with the country fighting for independence from Morocco. And now President Hichilema says Zambia has unwavering support for Morocco’s territorial integrity and autonomy plan offered by the North African Kingdom for the Sahara under its sovereignty, describing this plan as the “only reliable and realistic” solution” to the Sahara regional dispute.

The supportive stand comes in a joint statement issued ON Tuesday in Rabat following talks held by Foreign Minister Stanley Kakubo with Moroccan peer Nasser Bourita.

Mr. Kakubo voiced backing to the exclusive role played by the UN for reaching a realistic, practical, and lasting solution to the Sahara issue, recalling the opening by his country of a consulate in Saharan Moroccan city of Laayoune in 2020. He said the move confirms Zambia’s recognition of Moroccan sovereignty over its Saharan territory. Mr. Kakubo arrived Tuesday in Rabat carrying a message to King Mohammed VI from President Hakainde Hichilema. He handed the presidential message to Moroccan foreign minister. In the joint statement, Zambia lauded the efforts made by Morocco under the farsighted leadership of King Mohammed VI for the development of the African continent.

The two ministers discussed latest developments on the regional and international scene, hailing the convergence of views of the two countries on a number of issues of common concern. Bourita hailed on this occasion the important role played by Zambia within the Economic Community of Southern African States (SADC) and its contribution for the development of this African sub-region.

He also thanked Zambia for its “unconditional support” to Morocco within regional and international organizations.