Kenya stops recognizing the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic through a tweet from the new president… which he then deletes

The new president of Kenya, William Ruto, announced this Wednesday that his country “rescinds” the recognition of the Saharawi Arab Republic Democratic Party (SADR), one day after the Saharawi president, Brahim Gali, attended his inauguration.

“Kenya rescinds its recognition of the SADR and initiates measures to reduce the presence of the entity in the country“Ruto said on his Twitter social network account.

The Kenyan president, who was sworn in on Tuesday, made the announcement after meeting at his official residence in Nairobi with Moroccan Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita, who delivered a message of congratulations from the king Mohammed VI.

“Kenya supports the United Nations framework as an exclusive mechanism to find a lasting solution to the dispute over Western Sahara,” Ruto said of his first far-reaching foreign policy decision.

“We are going to accelerate relations with the Kingdom of Morocco in areas of trade, agriculture, health, tourism, energy, among others, for the mutual benefit of our countries,” added the Kenyan president.

A few hours later, both the president’s Twitter and Facebook accounts deleted the messages. Saharawi media assure that it is because withdrawal of recognition has been revokedbut there is still no official confirmation from the Kenyan government.

Until now, Kenya was among the 41 UN Member States that recognize the SADR. He had also been at the forefront in Africa in defending a solution to the conflict between the Saharawis and Morocco because, in his opinion, the dispute has delayed regional integration in the Maghreb.

The Western Sahara issue had even threatened to destabilize ties between Kenya and Morocco in the past, especially when the SADR opened an embassy in Nairobi in February 2014.

Ruto announced this political turn a day after Ghali attended his massive investiture ceremony in Nairobi, among more than twenty African leaders. The Kenyan president came to expressly thank you for your presence at the eventas he did with the rest of the heads of state who attended the ceremony.

Western Sahara, a former Spanish colony, is considered a non-autonomous territory in the process of decolonization, which is currently 80% controlled by Morocco without the UN having recognized Moroccan sovereignty.

Rabat proposes a statute of autonomy for the area, within the borders of Morocco, while the Polisario Front calls for a self-determination referendum to choose between independence or integration within the Moroccan borders.

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