Saudi Arabia is to host two summits this year, that of the Arab League but also the Arab-African summit, the thorny question of the Polisario is posed. Even if the Arab countries do not recognize the separatist entity and support the territorial integrity of Morocco, the summit continues to cause problems of organization and representation.
The last Arab-African summit organized in Equatorial Guinea in November 2016 ended in a big failure because of the presence of the Polisario. At the time, Morocco and 8 Arab countries decided to boycott the event in protest against the presence of the separatist militia within the conclave in violation of the rules.
These states are the United Arab Emirates, the Sultanate of Oman, Jordan, Somalia, Bahrain, Qatar, Yemen and also Saudi Arabia, a country which was to host the 5th summit but because of the polisario, this meeting been postponed twice, once in November 2019 to March 2020 and a second adjourned.
However, the last communiqué of the Arab League announcing the date of the next Arab summit, May 18 in Riyadh, mentioned that Saudi Arabia would also host the Arab-African summit in 2023 without specifying the date and the question of the Polisario redone surface.
In 2016, Morocco expressed its thanks to the Arab countries who supported their position of principle and refused to endorse the presence of a separatist group within the works.
In a press release from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Morocco had pointed the finger at the position of Kuwait, which had shown no embarrassment in seeing the Polisario invited while the rules of the Arab-African partnership did not allow it.
Moreover, Kuwait did not impose the respect of these rules while he was the session president of the Arab side at the level of the joint committee which was in charge of the organization. However, during the previous edition organized in Kuwait in 2013, the Polisario was not present.
The joint committee also included Egypt which had accepted the situation while it does not recognize the Polisario, the same thing for Tunisia which observed silence. Mauritania, which recognizes the self-proclaimed SADR, for its part, had campaigned for the participation of the Polisario like Algeria.
The Polisario separatist militia continues to poison summits between Africa and other countries. The last Africa-Japan summit (TICAD) organized in Tunisia, had seen the participation of the Polisario without Japan inviting it. Tunisia, submitting to the orders of Algeria, was then obliged to invite the Polisario and to reserve a presidential welcome for the leader of the separatist group.
As a reminder, the second postponement of the Summit in Saudi Arabia was made at the request of an African country – whose name has not been revealed – which wanted to seek more support to have the Polisario accepted.
Saudi Arabia is one of the countries that most defends and supports Morocco on the issue of its territorial integrity and the Moroccan Sahara at international meetings, especially before the United Nations.