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  • New Salvadoran President Nayib Bukele participates in his first cabinet council in San Salvador, El Salvador June 2, 2019.

    New Salvadoran President Nayib Bukele participates in his first cabinet council in San Salvador, El Salvador June 2, 2019. | Photo: Reuters

Published 16 June 2019

El Salvador puts an end to 30 years of relations the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic and deals a strong blow against the Sahrawi independence movement.

El Salvador President Nayib Bukele decided on Saturday to end diplomatic relations with the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR).

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"From now on, El Salvador will no longer have diplomatic relations with the Polisario Front and do not recognize the SADR,"  Bukele stated on his Twitter account.

The head of state explained during a press conference that his country’s relations with the Sahrawi movement had "weakened" bonds with the Arab world and especially with Morocco.

"We are opening up to real and lasting diplomatic relations with the entire Arab world and, in particular with Morocco," Bukele declared, stressing that the "excellent" agreement with Rabat includes "support in many areas, such as agriculture and health, and will benefit the country's economic growth."

According to the newly elected president of El Salvador, the decision made in 1989 by his country to establish diplomatic relations with the SADR “does not make any sense.”

"I don't know why the recognition was made, I imagine it was because of ideological positions but not because of real issues," he said, adding that El Salvador "had recognized a republic that does not exist, that has no territory and no people.”

In a statement, the Sahawari Polisario Front expressed its "gratitude to the Salvadoran people and to all its political forces for their solidarity and support" for their cause, hoping Bukele's decision will be temporary.

Despite it "the excellent relations [with Salvadoreans] will be maintained and continue to be strengthened, despite the decision taken by the administration of Bukele" read the release, which describes Morocco as an occupying country.

Western Sahara, a former Spanish colony, has been occupied by Morocco since 1975. In October of that year, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) rejected Morocco’s claim over sovereign Sahara. Ignoring the ICJ's ruling, King Hassan II of Morocco ordered the illegal invasion.

People living under occupation are denied basic human rights and subjected to frequent arrest, intimidation, detention, and torture. They are still struggling and fighting for their liberty and no state in the world has recognized the Moroccan claims to the territory. It is, according to the U.N. the last colonial issue in Africa. According to the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), more than 170,000 Saharawis live in the Tindouf camps. 

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