Statement by the South African Government on the latest events in the Occupied Territory of Western Sahara

The South African Government has learnt with shock about the heavy-handed manner in which the Moroccan security forces broke up a protest at a camp in Laayoune in the occupied territory of the Western Sahara on 8 November 2010. It is deplorable that, as a result of this incident, lives were lost, particularly those of innocent civilians.    

It is unfortunate that the clashes occurred while the third informal talks between the representatives of Morocco and the POLISARIO in Manhasset, New York were taking place. In this regard, we urge the parties to hasten these talks so that a solution to the Western Sahara conflict could be found, based on and in conformity with, the provisions of the United Nations Charter and the Constitutive Act of the African Union, especially the principle of the sanctity of colonial borders in Africa and the right of the peoples of former colonial territories to self-determination.

South Africa calls on both parties to continue to support the United Nations initiative that encourages direct negotiations between the parties with a view to achieving a “just, lasting and mutually acceptable political solution that will provide for the self-determination of the people of Western Sahara”.

For more information, please contact the Chief Director for Public Diplomacy, Mr Saul Kgomotso Molobi, on 082 940 1647, +27 12 351 0083 or e-mail him at

Issued by the Department of International Relations and Co-operation
OR Tambo Building
Private Bag x152
Pretoria, RSA

12 November 2010

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