President Cyril Ramaphosa receives President of the Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR), His Excellency President Brahim Ghali at the Union Buildings in Pretoria. Picture: Jairus Mmutle/GCIS

Johannesburg - South African President Cyril Ramaphosa on Tuesday said the protracted humanitarian crisis in Western Sahara's refugee camps was a direct consequence of the delay in finding a lasting solution to the conflict in the North Africa region.

Ramaphosa's comments follow his bilateral meeting with Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic President Brahim Ghali in Pretoria. Ghali is in the country on a working visit.

Upon concluding their meeting, Ramaphosa said a memorandum signed between the two African countries regarding the current conflict and humanitarian crisis provides his country with an opportunity to assist the people of Western Sahara, particularly those who continue to struggle in refugee camps.

"The lack of a solution is also an impediment towards greater regional integration and security cooperation in the Maghreb region," Ramaphosa said in a statement adding "in our discussions, we expressed our full support and confidence in the efforts undertaken by the UN Secretary General’s Personal Envoy for Western Sahara, Mr Horst Köhler, to bring the parties together and mobilise the international community to implement all UN resolutions on Western Sahara." 

These resolutions were recently adopted in the UN Security Council 2414 programme.

Ramaphosa further highlighted that SA had also vowed its full support and has confidence in the efforts undertaken by the African Union Special Envoy for Western Sahara, former President Joaquim Chissano of Mozambique. 

On regional, continental and international peace matters; Ramaphosa said they "condemned in the strongest possible terms all forms of terrorism and extremism affecting some of our sister countries."

"We have committed ourselves to playing our part in resolving the peace and security challenges on the continent," he said.

The countries have also undertaken to continue deepening their relations and strengthen cooperation on all platforms.

Political Bureau