What is the issue? Why does Western Sahara require a solidarity conference? The Western Sahara is a disputed territory in Northwest Africa. It is sparsely populated and consists mainly of desert. Two parties claim sovereignty of the territory. One is the Moroccan government, which considers it a province with certain autonomous rights. The other is the Polisario Front, a political and military organisation that has proclaimed the area as the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic. A referendum to choose between the two options was proposed as far back as 1991. But it’s never happened. This is mainly because of disputes over who would be eligible to vote. Negotiations between Morocco’s government and the Polisaro Front have resulted in little progress since. The two parties officially ceased their military operations in 1991, but the situation remains fragile despite a United Nations peacekeeping missionbeing deployed to the Western Sahara since that same year. The solidarity conference hosted by SADC can be seen as a reaction to the gradual shift of power towards Morocco. In 2017, Morocco joined the African Union (AU) after a 33-year absence. It chose to stay away because the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic was already an AU member (it remains so today). Why Western Sahara remains one of Africa's most divisive political issues So, I'm guessing this is going to take center stage for awhile.