January 31, 2011 (KHARTOUM) – The president of the Government of Southern Sudan (GoSS) and First Vice President of Sudan Salva Kiir met on Monday with the Polisario Front chief Mohammed Abdel-Aziz on the sidelines of the African Union (AU) summit in Addis Ababa, according to a news report.
- President of Southern Sudan Government of (GoSS) and Polisario Front chief Mohammed Abdel-Aziz (UPES Website)
The Sahrawi Union for Journalists and Writers website said that Abdel-Aziz extended congratulations to Kiir on the successful referendum process in Southern Sudan which came out overwhelmingly in favor of establishing a new state.
Abdel-Aziz also lauded "the wisdom and courage" of the South Sudan people which led to a peaceful resolution of the two-decades civil war with the North. He expressed hope that the remaining post-referendum arrangements would be completed during the interim period.
The head of the independence movement then briefed Kiir on the latest developments regarding the Western Sahara which is seeking a referendum on the future of the region annexed by Morocco in 1975.
Kiir was quoted by the website as expressing strong support to the Saharan cause and reiterating the solid and warm relations between the two that dates back to many years. The GoSS president also rejected the annexation of the region against the will of the Saharan people.
"Morocco as an occupying country is obligated to recognize the right of the Saharan people in self-determination [but] sooner or later the will of the people will prevail," Kiir said.
Morocco’s 1975 annexation of the Western Sahara sparked a war between its forces and Algerian-backed Polisario guerrillas. The two sides agreed to a ceasefire in 1991 but the UN-sponsored talks on Western Sahara’s future have since made no headway.
Rabat has pledged to grant Western Sahara widespread autonomy but rules out independence. The Polisario Front wants a referendum on self-determination, with independence as one of the options.