Japan hopes Morocco-Tunisia rift over Polisario does not impact TICAD

Monday, August 29, 2022

PanOrient News
TOKYO: The withdrawal of Morocco from TICAD 8 after representatives of the Polisario separatist movement were invited and welcomed officially by the Tunisian President, has not affected the country’s support for the conference, a Japanese government official told PanOrient news.

“We are aware that on August 26, Morocco decided not to participate in TICAD 8,” the official said in a statement replying to a PanOrient News question. “At the same time, we understand that Morocco has made it clear that its commitment to TICAD will not change.”

After its withdrawal from the Tokyo International Conference on African Development (August 27 and 28 in Tunisia), Morocco recalled its ambassador to Tunisia for consultations "following the attitude of (Tunisia)… which blatantly confirms its hostility towards the Kingdom.”

PM Kishida speech

The Japanese government does not recognize the so-called “Republic of Sahara” and once considered the Polisario as a “terrorist group”. Sources in the Japanese government told PanOrient News that participation in TICAD was decided by Japan and didn’t include the Polisario and that the presence of Polisario leader Brahim Ghali in the meetings was a “surprise fait accompli.”

The Moroccan Foreign Ministry issued a statement saying that TICAD is not a meeting of the African Union, but a framework for partnership between Japan and African countries with which it has diplomatic relations. “Regarding the invitation of the separatist entity to TICAD-8, it was agreed from the outset and with the agreement of Tunisia, that only those countries that have received an invitation co-signed by the Japanese Prime Minister and the Tunisian President, will be able to take part in this meeting.”

The conference, the statement added, “has always been based on an inclusive participation of African states, not members of the AU.”

Morocco was not the only party to react to the invitation to the Polisario. The President of Guinea Bissau and current President of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), Umaro Sissoco Embalo, reportedly left the conference to protest against the participation of the Algerian supported and financed Polisario.

Senegalese President Macky Sall regretted in his opening ceremony speech at the meeting that the conference was being held without Morocco, a “prominent member of the African Union.”
PanOrient News

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