Rabat - The US Congress has once again lent its support to Morocco in the so-called Western Sahara conflict, by way of its Omnibus Appropriations Bill for fiscal year 2018, passed on Thursday.
Rabat – The US Congress has once again lent its support to Morocco in the so-called Western Sahara conflict, by way of its Omnibus Appropriations Bill for fiscal year 2018, passed on Thursday.
Morocco’s aid provisions in the Appropriations Bill, listed on page 1399, section (g), state: “Funds appropriated under title III of this Act shall be made available for assistance for the Western Sahara” after consultation with the secretary of state, appropriations committee, and USAID administrator.
This language reflects a bicameral nod to Moroccan authority in the conflict, through its reference to the the Western Sahara explicitly within the section for Morocco’s provisions. Nearly identical iterations of this language can be found in previous appropriations bills from 2017, 2016, 2015, and 2014.
These provisions reiterate the European Commission’s recent decision to tacitly recognize Moroccan sovereignty through its inclusion of Western Saharan waters in its renewal proposal to the current Morocco-EU Fisheries Partnership Agreement.
Maghreb Arab Press (MAP) reports that the appropriations bill also makes a “thinly-veiled reference” to the Tindouf camps in Algeria with its mention of steps “taken to strengthen monitoring of the delivery of humanitarian assistance provided for refugees in North Africa, including any steps taken to ensure that all vulnerable refugees are receiving such assistance.”
This is the second time since FY2017 that the Appropriations Bill has called on the US state department to monitor the delivery of humanitarian aid to refugees in North Africa, echoing Morocco’s calls to the international community to shed light on the embezzlement of humanitarian aid destined for the Tindouf camps.