Back in December 2018, two US officials urged Trump’s administration to assist Morocco on the Western Sahara conflict.
Rabat – Middle East and North Africa expert at the US Institute of Peace (USIP) Thomas Hill expressed satisfaction with the US administration’s decision to sign the 2019 spending bill. The bill reiterates Morocco’s position that Western Sahara should be considered as part of the US aids funds allocated to Morocco.
Hill told Maghreb Arab Press (MAP) that the funding allocated to Morocco’s southern provinces is a “recognition that development programs in the Sahara regions should be carried out through and with the permission of the government of Morocco.”
The expert also recalled that Morocco “is already promoting programs in Laayoune and neighbouring regions.”
The signing of the bill suggests that diplomatic ties between both nations are moving in a good course. The expert said that Morocco is one of the strongest allies of the US in Africa, in North Africa and in the Middle East.
Hill stressed Morocco’s efforts to combat terrorism in the region, pointing out that the country is America’s strongest ally in North Africa, especially on security measures..
Morocco’s counterterrorism is well recognized worldwide. Morocco’s efforts to fight radicalization and extremism have traditionally been applauded by American security reports, including the ones issued by US Departments of State.
In its 2018 Country Report on Terrorism, the US Department of State warmly spoke of Morocco’s contributions to international counterterrorism. The report noted that intelligence obtained from Moroccan services helped thwart scheduled terrorist strikes in a number of partner countries, especially in the EU.
The State Department said, “Following the August attacks in Barcelona, Morocco assisted the Spanish investigation and promised to expand cooperation to track terrorists of Moroccan origin radicalized abroad.”
Hill said that the stability of Morocco is an essential asset for the US and European countries as both regions are facing challenges due to migration, cross-border crime, trafficking of all kinds as well as the instability in the Sahel region.
“Morocco is and continues to be a reliable ally of the United States in North Africa,” he added.
In addition to the experts, several congress figures and US senior officials urged US administration to further reinforce its diplomatic ties with Morocco.
In December 2018, US attorney general of Idaho Lawrence Wasden and Utah’s attorney general Sean Reyes co-wrote an opinion piece, to emphasize Morocco’s efforts as a leading counter-terrorism country.
The two officials also called on the US to intensify its support to Morocco’s position in the Western Sahara conflict.
Morocco’s efforts in countering terrorism and radicalization, “underscore the need for continued US support to help Morocco resolve the Western Sahara conflict,” emphasized the two officials.
Morocco’s government has expressed its satisfaction with the pro-Morocco spending bill.
Morocco’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement that while the bill’s language is reserved, diplomatic, and does not appear to overtly embrace Morocco’s position, its pro-Morocco sentiment is unmistakable, the ministry said in a statement.