In his presidential proclamation, Donald Trump said an independent Sahrawi “state” in Western Sahara is not a realistic option.
Rabat – Moroccan Minister of Foreign Affairs Nasser Bourita said today that US recognition of Morocco’s sovereignty over Western Sahara is “an important step.”
Speaking to news outlet Sputnik, Bourita said the recognition is a result of direct contact between King Mohammed VI and US President Donald Trump. The development “confirms Morocco’s sovereignty over its soil,” he said.
Bourita added that the US has also decided to open a consulate general in the city of Dakhla, further solidifying its recognition of the Western Sahara region as Moroccan territory.
Stressing that the US is one of the permanent members of the Security Council and has significant international influence, Trump’s decision “will push towards the strengthening of Moroccan sovereignty over its Sahara.”
Earlier today, Trump tweeted that Morocco and Israel have agreed to normalize diplomatic relations, welcoming the move as a “historic breakthrough.” In a follow-up tweet, the president added that it is only fitting for the US to recognize Morocco’s full sovereignty over the Western Sahara region, as Morocco was the first country to recognize US independence in 1777. He added that Morocco’s Autonomy Plan is the only solution to the territorial dispute.
In a presidential proclamation issued after the tweets, Trump reiterated US support for Morocco’s “serious, credible, and realistic autonomy proposal as the only basis for a just and lasting solution to the dispute over the Western Sahara territory.”
“The United States believes that an independent Sahrawi State is not a realistic option for resolving the conflict and that genuine autonomy under Moroccan sovereignty is the only feasible solution,” Trump’s presidential proclamation said.
Morocco submitted its autonomy initiative to the UN in 2007. The plan suggests making Western Sahara a semi-autonomous region that remains under Morocco’s sovereignty.
The plan would allow the region’s inhabitants to autonomously manage their social, economic, and political development, while Morocco’s government would handle Western Sahara’s defense and diplomacy.
The Algeria-backed Polisario Front, on the other hand, calls for an independent state in Western Sahara via a referendum. Mentions of a referendum in Western Sahara, however, have been absent from UN Security Council resolutions on the dossier since 2001. Meanwhile, Morocco enjoys growing support for its autonomy proposal both within the UN Security Council and the international community.
Trump encouraged the parties to continue negotiations to reach a mutually-acceptable solution to the conflict.