Peru resumes ties with Polisario

Peru has renewed diplomatic ties with the partially recognized Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR) in Western Sahara, its foreign ministry said on Thursday, reversing a recent decision to favor Morocco.

Lima said last month it was pursuing closer relations with Morocco and cutting links with the SADR, which Rabat sees as a claim on a sovereign part of its territory.

But Peru’s foreign ministry said on Thursday it would “renew its diplomatic relations with the SADR,” reiterating “the right to free self-determination of the Saharawi people” in accordance with Resolution 1514 of the UN General Assembly.

Leftist president Pedro Castillo re-established ties in September 2021 with the SADR, which is administered by the Polisario Front independence movement, in one of his first major foreign policy decisions.

But his government has been wracked by political instability since he took office in July 2021 with his fourth foreign minister resigning last week.

The resignation of Miguel Rodriguez Mackay, who stepped down on September 10 after playing a key role in the warming of ties with Rabat, has brought the relationship back to where it started.

Castillo appointed Cesar Landa as the country’s new foreign minister on Wednesday.

The disputed status of Western Sahara –– a former Spanish colony considered a “non-self-governing territory” by the United Nations –– has pitted Morocco against the Algeria-backed Polisario Front since the 1970s.

Rabat, which controls nearly 80 percent of the territory, is pushing for autonomy under its sovereignty.

The Polisario Front, however, wants a referendum on self-determination.

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