Magazine article UN Chronicle

Sovereignty of Comoros over Mayotte Reaffirmed

Magazine article UN Chronicle

Sovereignty of Comoros over Mayotte Reaffirmed

Article excerpt

Sovereignty of Comoros Over Mayotte Reaffirmed

ON 21 November, the General Assembly reaffirmed the sovereignty of the Comoros over Mayotte and invited France to open negotiations, "with a view to ensuring the effective and prompt return of the island of Mayotte to the Comoros'. The Assembly adopted resolution 38/13 by a recorded vote of 115 to 1 (France), with 24 abstentions.

The Assembly considered a report from the Secretary-General (document A/38/517) on information received from the Organization of African Unity (OAU), France and the Comoros.

The OAU's communication said there had not been any major development in the search for a solution concerning the question of Mayotte since the meeting of the OAU's Ad Hoc Committee of Seven in November 1981. The Committee has been mandated to facilitate the drawing up of practical modalities for the return of Mayotte to the Comoros.

France informed the Secretary-General that its Government was pursuing a constructive political dialogue with the Comorian Government with a view to finding a solution to the problem of Mayotte acceptable to all parties. Accordingly, at the end of 1982, it had appointed an individual who would be entrusted with the specific task of ensuring continuity in that dialogue in close co-operation with the authorities of the Islamic Federal Republic of the Comoros.

The Comoros informed the Secretary-General that there had been no real change in the situation of the Mayotte problem since the 1982 Assembly. Despite the spirit of openness manifested by the Comorian Government with a view to the successful resolution of the problem, the French side was showing a lack of interest and had not taken any concrete measures to foster the return of the Island to the Comoros.


The Comoros said the issue resulted from an injustice and constituted a flagrant violation of public international law. It reaffirmed that Mayotte was and would remain Comorian land. For the 130 years of its presence in the Comoros, France had never questioned or contested the unity of the Comoro Archipelago.

On 22 December 1974, some 95 per cent of Comorians had voted for the independence of the country, but the French Government, completely renouncing its commitments, on 3 July 1975 had enacted a law that attempted to make the Comoros' accession to independence subject to new and unacceptable conditions on the pretext that in Mayotte part of the population had voted against independence.

The Comoros recalled that it had been admitted to the United Nations on 12 December 1975 as a sovereign State composed of four islands, including Mayotte. However, the French Government, on 31 December 1975, enacted a law which formalized the dismemberment of the Comoros. A few weeks later, several contingents of legionnaires arrived on that island, thus completing the last stage of the plan to occupy it and separate it from the Comorian territory.

The separation of Mayotte, the Comoros stated, was an impediment to the harmonious development of the entire country. Up until now, Comoros had resolutely chosen the path of negotiation and systematically rejected any recourse to violence. …

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