The Moroccan Ambassador to India, Mohamed Maliki, has described the US recognition of Morocco’s sovereignty over Western Sahara as a “historic decision” that will help peace in the region.
The Moroccan diplomat made the statement during an interview with Indian television channel WION on Wednesday, December 16.
During the interview, Maliki stressed that the US has always supported a political solution to the dispute over Western Sahara and that Morocco’s Autonomy Plan enjoys wide support from the international community.
The Autonomy Plan, which Morocco submitted to the UN in April 2007, suggests turning Western Sahara into a semi-autonomous region under Moroccan sovereignty.
The proposal would allow local populations to independently manage socio-economic and political issues, while a central Moroccan government would handle issues of national interest, such as defense and diplomacy.
Maliki considered the US official recognition of Morocco’s territorial integrity as a continuity in US foreign policy rather than a shift.
“The US’ decision is only confirming what they have been believing in the past few years, since 2007,” he explained.
The ambassador expressed his satisfaction with the decision, saying it will “definitely help peace in the region.”
Responding to a question about whether the American decision will fuel tensions between Morocco and the Polisario Front, Maliki said the separatist group is what threatens stability in the region.
He recalled the three-week blockade at the Guerguerat crossing point, connecting Morocco and Mauritania, when Polisario’s armed militias blocked traffic and left hundreds of truck drivers stranded.
The blockade ended on November 13 after Morocco launched a non-offensive operation to restore the flow of civil and commercial traffic through Guerguerat.
According to Maliki, the international community’s support for Morocco’s sovereignty over Western Sahara can deter the Polisario Front from launching hostile maneuvers.
Pivoting to the resumption of diplomatic ties between Morocco and Israel, which US President Donald Trump announced on the same day he recognized the kingdom’s territorial integrity, Maliki said the two decisions are separate.
Responding to accusations that Morocco “sold” the Palestinian cause to receive US support over the Western Sahara issue, the ambassador said that independent countries “do not bargain with their principles.”
Maliki stressed that, as King Mohammed VI has told Palestine President Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian cause is as important for Moroccans as the national Sahara cause.
In a phone call with the Palestinian leader on December 10, King Mohammed VI assured Palestine that Morocco’s position remains unchanged and that the country still supports a two-state solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.
Maliki explained that Morocco already had relations with Israel and only resumed them to promote economic ties and facilitate the travel of Israelis with Moroccan origins between the two countries.