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AU denounces expulsion of MINURSO members by Morocco

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Addis-Ababa, April 20, 2016 (SPS) - President of the African Union Commission (AU) Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma denounced the expulsion by Morocco of members of the United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO), stressing that Rabat's decision is a "dangerous precedent."
Dalmini-Zuma sent a letter on 13 April to the Secretary General of the United Nations Ban Ki-moon, in addition to the communiqué of the 588th meeting of the Peace and Security Council (PSC) on the situation in Western Sahara, the AU stated in a communiqué.
In her letter, President of the AU Commission "welcomed Ban Ki-moon's recent visit" to the region. 
"She regrets" the fact that "Morocco did not accept to receive the UN Secretary General and prevented him from visiting the MINURSO headquarters in the occupied town of El Aain, capital city of the occupied Western Sahara."
In this regard, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma recalled that "the AU Peace and Security Council (PSC) had condemned Morocco's decision to expel 84 international employees of the MINURSO including the AU staff and not to accept the UN SG's visit to Rabat and occupied El Aaiun." 
"Morocco's decision is a dangerous precedent as it is challenges the UN Security Council and jeopardizes its peacekeeping and international security mandate," according to the same source.     
"President of the AU Commission stated that Morocco's action to prevent Ban Ki-moon from visiting the region, in addition to the current blocking of the peace process, exacerbates tensions in Western Sahara, and threatens regional security and stability while the international community is mobilized to find a solution to the Western Sahara conflict in accordance with relevant resolutions of the AU and the UN Security Council." 
She recalled that the AU PSC urged in its decision the UN Security Council to fully assume its responsibilities in this regard, in accordance with Chapter VII, to cancel Morocco's decision to expel the MINURSO. 
"The AU PSC also urged the UN Security Council to reaffirm the MINURSO mandate and set a date for the auto-determination referendum in Western Sahara," the AU official said.
"The international community must pursue current efforts and those of the UN Special Envoy Christopher Ross to resolve this issue in accordance with international legality," she added. 
Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma said "she is expecting the MINURSO mandate renewal and urged "the UN Security Council to take necessary measure to endow the MINURSO with mechanisms for human rights monitoring." (SPS)