As a permanent member of the UN Security Council, the US position is a significant boost for Morocco.
The US submitted on Tuesday the Proclamation on Recognizing the Sovereignty of the Kingdom of Morocco Over the Western Sahara to the UN Security Council.
“On December 10, 2020, President Donald J. Trump issued this proclamation recognizing ‘that the entire Western Sahara territory is part of the Kingdom of Morocco,’” wrote Kelly Craft, the US representative to the UN.
Craft addressed a letter with the proclamation attached to the President of the UN Security Council, Jerry Matthews Matjila, as well as UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. She asked that Matjila and Guterres adopt the proclamation as an official document of the Security Council.
The submission is symbolic and, from a legal perspective, does not carry weight within the Security Council. It does, however, convey the change in US policy towards Western Sahara.
President Trump announced US recognition of Morocco’s sovereignty over Western Sahara in a series of tweets on December 10.
“Morocco recognized the United States in 1777. It is thus fitting we recognize their sovereignty over the Western Sahara,” he wrote.
In his presidential proclamation formalizing the announcement, Trump attested that Morocco’s Autonomy Plan is “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,” the proclamation said.
The document also announced that the US will open a consulate general in Dakhla, southern Morocco.
The consulate will serve to facilitate American economic investments in Morocco’s southern provinces.
The UN secretary-general quickly reacted to the US president’s announcement, saying that the UN’s neutral position regarding Western Sahara remains “unchanged.”
However, considering the US is a permanent member of the UN Security Council with the right to veto votes, it remains to be seen how the issue will develop at the international level.
What is certain is that US recognition of Morocco’s territorial integrity is an important diplomatic breakthrough for the kingdom and a major setback to the separatist Polisario Front and its supporters.