26th March, 2019, Pretoria, South Africa: The Southern African Development Community (SADC) on 25-26 March, 2019 convened a Solidarity Conference with Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic/Western Sahara where participants expressed their unwavering commitment to stand in solidarity with the people of Western Sahara to attain their right to freedom and self-determination.
The Chairperson of SADC, His Excellency Dr Hage G. Geingob, President of Namibia expressed gratitude to participants for the unity of purpose demonstrated by accepting the invitation to participate at the conference and called on the SADC Member States and the international community to be determined and united for the emancipation of the people of Western Sahara.
“Freedom is not a gift; it is a right for the people of Western Sahara. It is their birth right,” said President Dr. Geingob and added that Africa’s aspirations, as espoused in the African Union (AU) Agenda 2063 will not be achieved in the absence of total freedom of all Africa’s people.
In his welcome remarks, His Excellency President Cyril Ramaphosa of the Republic of South Africa underscored the importance of the SADC Solidarity Conference as a reflection of the commitment by SADC and other African countries, supported by the international community to call for a just, acceptable and lasting solution to the situation in Western Sahara.
His Excellency President Brahim Ghali of the Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic thanked SADC for convening the Solidarity Conference and called for a mechanism to follow on the decisions emanating from the conference. He said the hopes and aspirations of the people of Western Sahara will be fulfilled through freedom and self-determination.
During the conference, H.E. Mr. Olusegun Obasanjo: Former President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria led a discussion on the role of the International Community in ensuring the implementation of all UN Resolutions and AU Decisions on Western Sahara, including strengthening measures against the exploitation of the natural resources of Western Sahara. The former Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Zimbabwe, Hon. Simbalashe Mumbengegwi led another discussion on strengthening of international solidarity with the people of Western Sahara to ensure their right to self-determination
At the end of Conference, delegates expressed condolences and solidarity with the people of the Republics of Malawi, Mozambique and Zimbabwe who bore the brunt of the effects of the recent Cyclone Idai, and called for continued support to enable all affected families and communities in the three SADC Member States to recover from the effects of the Cyclone.
The Conference was attended by Heads of State and Government from the Lesotho, Namibia, Uganda, Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR), South Africa and Zimbabwe as well as high level delegation from Angola, Botswana, Democratic Republic of Congo, Eswatini, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Seychelles, United Republic of Tanzania and Zambia. The SADC Secretariat was led by the Deputy Executive Secretary for Corporate Affairs, Ambassador Joseph Nourrice.
Also in attendance were representatives of Algeria, Cuba, Democratic Republic of Timor Leste, Kenya, Federal Republic of Nigeria, Republic of Nicaragua, Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, Democratic Republic of Sao Tome and Principe, Uganda as well as representatives of Former Liberation Movements, Ruling Political Parties in the SADC Region; and Civil Society Organisations.
The full declaration can be downloaded from the link below