After Washington recognized Morocco’s sovereignty in exchange for the normalization of Rabat’s relations with Israel, the United States began to establish a “consulate” in the disputed Western Sahara on Sunday.
The American ambassador David Fischer visited the port of Dakhla, 1,440 kilometers (895 miles) southwest of Rabat, the southernmost point of Western Sahara controlled by Morocco, to commemorate the beginning of the work of the diplomatic office.
Fischer said: “I am honored to come to Morocco, this beautiful and vital region, and to start establishing a US diplomatic agency here.”
Western Sahara is a controversial and divided former Spanish colony, mostly under the control of Morocco. Since the 1
Last year, Morocco, together with the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Sudan, agreed to normalize relations with Israel through a US brokerage agreement.
In return, U.S. President Donald Trump achieved Morocco’s decades-old goal by supporting his controversial sovereignty over a barren but phosphate-rich region, which is adjacent to the main Atlantic fishing area.
Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita said on Sunday: “Morocco, with the support of its friends, feels stronger in its legal struggle for territorial integrity.”
The Polisario Front supported by Algeria fought for independence from 1975 to 1991 and controlled about one-fifth of the desert territory.
About 20 countries (mainly African and Arab countries) have opened diplomatic offices in Morocco-controlled areas, but Polisario believes such actions violate international law.
Polisario’s representative of the Saharan Arab Democratic Republic, Bachir Mustapha Sayed (Bachir Mustapha Sayed) called the visit of the U.S. delegation a “propaganda tour” and recalled Trump’s acceptance of the Algerian News Agency. During the interview, “the government will end in less than two weeks.” APS.
The United Nations peacekeepers in Western Sahara were tasked to organize a referendum on self-determination in the region. Although Washington has taken action, the United Nations insists that its position is “unchanged.”
In November, Polisario declared that the 1991 ceasefire was invalidated because Morocco had sent troops to the UN patrolled buffer zone to reopen a major road.
Borita said on Sunday that Morocco will continue to “support the ceasefire but will respond to any provocations”, adding that Rabat “will support the UN process…to seek a solution to this long-standing dispute”.
Accompanied by David Schenker, Assistant Secretary of State for Affairs recently, Fischer called Sunday’s visit “another historic milestone in the friendship between Morocco and the United States for more than 200 years.”
The two wore flowing white embroidered robes and traditionally wore their suits on the territory.
In December last year, the US State Department opened a “virtual” diplomatic post in Western Sahara before searching for a “appropriate location” for the consulate.
Fischer added that the building is expected to be ready in the next few months.
Fischer said last month that the consulate will allow Washington “to further use Morocco’s strategic position as a trading hub for Africa, Europe and the Middle East.”
The agreement between Morocco and Israel to normalize relations is expected to involve a large amount of investment from the US International Development Finance Corporation. Morocco hopes that Dakra will become a major regional port.
Last month, the Democratic Republic of the Congo signed a memorandum of understanding to invest US$3 billion in Morocco or Moroccan partners working in sub-Saharan Africa over the next four years.
It also pledged to take an initiative to “promote the investment of US$1 billion in projects aimed at the economic empowerment of women in the Middle East and North Africa.”
US President-elect Biden, who will replace Trump on January 20, has not publicly commented on Western Sahara.
sof / pjm / sw