Rabat - The US Congress has reportedly thwarted a pro-Polisario request hostile to Morocco’s stance on the Western Sahara conflict ahead of its vote on the 2018 Appropriations Bill last Thursday, March 23.
Rabat – The US Congress has reportedly thwarted a pro-Polisario request hostile to Morocco’s stance on the Western Sahara conflict ahead of its vote on the 2018 Appropriations Bill last Thursday, March 23.
According to Moroccan newspaper Assabah, two US congressmen attempted to introduce a request for additional consultation with the State Department and the United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO) prior to the vote.
However, the US Congress moved forward and voted the 2018 Appropriations Bill into law, granting Morocco the right to use the aid everywhere in the country, including Western Sahara on Thursday.
Trump’s administration and its congressional allies are more concerned with the state of the US economy than “marginal wars,” according to Assabah.
Quoting Driss Legrini, professor of law and international relations, Assabah added that this is a firm and unequivocal response from the US Congress to the enemies of Morocco, referring to Polisario and its mentor Algeria.
This decision followed a similar action in 2017, when the Congress allowed Morocco to use US aid in the service of Western Sahara, and thus tacitly recognizing Moroccan sovereignty through its inclusion of the territory.
The amount of aid available to assist the region, where the conflict has been ongoing for more than 40 years, remain unidentified.
Legrini added that the US seeks to focus on their strategic relations with Morocco, rather than “fulfilling the wishes of lobbies engaged by the Algerian intelligence services.”
The Congress also stressed the need for more control over the aid sent to the Tindouf camps in Algeria, where an unidentified number of refugees currently live. This decision is likely tied to reports of corruption and embezzlement by the Polisario members in the camps.
The separatist group has been involved in embezzlement of international humanitarian aid intended for the region, including the UN aid. Polisario’s activities were harshly denounced by the UN General Assembly’s Third Committee in 2017.
One member of Morocco’s permanent mission to the UN in New York, Omar Kadiri, blamed Algeria for avoiding its responsibility for the Sahrawi population held in the Tindouf camps.
The Moroccan diplomat condemned the humanitarian aid embezzlement by Polisario in the Tindouf camps. Kadiri’s statements were echoed earlier this month, when Morocco’s Head of Affairs in Geneva Hassan Boukili condemned the living situation of of the Sahrawi population in the Tindouf Camps, accusing Algeria of shirking its international responsibility towards the population.
Speaking at the 71st session of the Standing Committee of the High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), Boukili emphasized that Morocco’s eastern neighbor is, “the only country to oppose the implementation of all the feasible solutions for the populations in the Tindouf camps.”
Boukili added that Algeria, “has chosen to suffer an alleged situation of Sahrawi refugees of its own creation.” He notes that the country is the only nation to refuse to conduct a headcount of the populations in the Tindouf camps.