US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has described Morocco as a role model for tolerance in the Middle East and North Africa region and in the world.
“Morocco’s efforts to promote tolerance — from its historical tradition of protecting its Jewish minority, the signing of the Marrakech declaration, to yesterday’s agreement with Israel — sets an example to the region and throughout the world,” Pompeo said.
The top US diplomat made the statement on December 11, one day after US President Donald Trump announced Morocco and Israel will establish diplomatic relations.
“The agreement reached yesterday between Israel and Morocco to normalize relations is another remarkable step toward peace,” Pompeo commented.
According to the agreement, which Morocco’s Royal Cabinet confirmed, Morocco and Israel will resume their diplomatic ties, establish direct flights, and promote economic cooperation between Israeli and Moroccan businesses.
Regarding Trump’s second announcement on Thursday, that the US officially recognizes Morocco’s sovereignty over Western Sahara, Pompeo affirmed that the Moroccan Autonomy Plan is the only possible solution to the territorial dispute.
“The United States continues to believe only political negotiations are capable of resolving the issues between Morocco and the Polisario. As we have long stated, we believe those negotiations should occur within the framework of Morocco’s Autonomy Plan,” the US diplomat said.
Morocco’s autonomy initiative, presented to the UN in April 2007, suggests turning Western Sahara into a semi-autonomous region under Moroccan sovereignty.
The local population would independently manage socio-economic and political issues, while Morocco would remain responsible for diplomacy and defense, among other matters of national interest.
Pompeo emphasized the strength of Morocco-US relations, recalling that the Kingdom was the first country to officially recognize the US in 1777 after its independence.
“Morocco opened its ports to the ships of the new American republic, allowing us to engage in trade and commerce and supporting our fight for freedom. Our friendship has endured,” he said.
For Pompeo, the recent agreements between Morocco, the US, and Israel will “ensure the continued prosperity and security of our countries.”
“The United States, Israel, and Morocco have embraced peace and the world is better off for it,” he concluded.