The Peace and Security Council of the African Union (AU), at its 547th meeting held on 26 September 2015, at the level of Heads of State and Government, adopted the following decision on the situation in Western Sahara:


1.    Takes note of the briefing by the Commission on the situation in Western Sahara;

2.    Recalls its earlier pronouncements on the situation in Western Sahara, namely communiqué PSC/PR/COMM/1.(CDXCVI) and press statement PSC/PR/COMM.2(DII) adopted at its 496th and 503rd meetings held on 27 March and 30 April 2015, respectively;

3.    Notes with deep concern that, in spite of the sustained efforts deployed, including by the successive Personal Envoys of the UN Secretary-General, no progress has been made in the search for a solution to the conflict in Western Sahara, which has been in a stalemate for more than four decades;

4.    Reiterates the AU’s commitment to continue to work towards the early resolution of the conflict in Western Sahara on the basis of international legality and relevant OAU/AU decisions, and to cooperate closely with the United Nations (UN) to that end. In this respect, Council encourages the Chairperson of the Commission to pursue and intensify her efforts, including through her Special Envoy for Western Sahara, former President Joaquim Chissano of Mozambique, towards the effective follow-up of the relevant provisions of communiqué PSC/PR/COMM./1(CDXCVI);

5.    Further reiterates the call made by the Assembly of the Union in paragraph 18 of decision Assembly/AU/Dec.583(XXV), adopted at its 25th Ordinary Session held in Johannesburg, South Africa, from 14 to 15 June 2015, for the UN General Assembly to determine a date for the holding of the self-determination referendum for the people of Western Sahara and protect the integrity of Western Sahara as a non-self-governing territory, bearing in mind the Advisory Opinion given by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) on 16 October 1975. Council requests the AU Group in New York to take the necessary follow-up action;

6.    Urges the UN Security Council to fully assume its responsibilities and take all necessary steps to expedite the resolution of the conflict in Western Sahara, as well as effectively address the issues relating to the respect of human rights and the illegal exploitation of the Territory’s natural resources, bearing in mind the recent Legal Opinion by the AU Commission on the illegal exploitation of the mineral resources of Western Sahara;

7.    Decides to remain seized of the situation.

Posted by Shiferaw Degefa

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Western Sahara