King Mohammed VI called the decision of the UAE to open a consulate in Laayoune a historic move.
Rabat – The UAE officially opened a consulate general in Laayoune, southern Morocco, on Wednesday.
The UAE is the first Arab country to open a diplomatic representation in Morocco’s southern provinces and joins a list of 15 other countries that decided to open consulates in the region.
Morocco’s Foreign Affairs Minister Nasser Bourita chaired the opening ceremony alongside the UAE’s Ambassador to Morocco, El Assri Al Asri Saeed Ahmed Al Dhaheri.
With the UAE’s diplomatic representation, the city of Laayoune has welcomed a total of nine consulates general in less than a year.
Last week on October 27, King Mohammed VI held a phone call with the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, who announced his country’s decision to open a consulate in Laayoune.
King Mohammed VI described the announcement as historic, reflecting the UAE’s support for Morocco’s cause in Western Sahara.
Other countries that opened diplomatic representations in Laayoune include Comoros, Gabon, the Central African Republic, Sao Tome and Principe, Burundi, Côte d’Ivoire, Eswatini, and Zambia.
The opening of the UAE consulate in the region is also important as it comes just a few days before the 45th anniversary of the Green March, the most significant event in Morocco’s history.
It dates back to 1975, when more than 350,000 unarmed Moroccan men and women rallied in Tarfaya to cross the border into Western Sahara. The peaceful demonstrators carried Moroccan flags, green banners, Qur’ans, and pictures of King Hassan II throughout the peaceful march to urge Spain to leave Moroccan territory.
Morocco celebrates the anniversary of the Green March every year on November 6. King Mohammed VI delivers a speech on the occasion, recalling Morocco’s steadfast position that it does not accept any compromise for Western Sahara.
Morocco has made significant diplomatic gains within the African Union, but with the opening of the UAE consulate in Laayoune, experts predict other Arab states that support Morocco’s territorial integrity may make similar decisions.
A score of countries in the Arab League constantly reiterate support for Morocco’s position in Western Sahara, including Bahrain, Qatar, Oman, and Jordan.
In addition to Laayoune, several other African countries also opened consulates in the southern Moroccan city of Dakhla.
Equatorial Guinea was the latest to announce support for Morocco’s territorial integrity through a consulate in Dakhla, following Guinea Bissau and Burkina Faso.
Earlier this year, The Gambia, Guinea, Djibouti, and Liberia all opened diplomatic representations in Dakhla.