Agadir – The UN Security Council has published as an official document the letter which Kelly Craft, the US representative to the United Nations, sent to the UNSC containing the Presidential Proclamation recognizing the Western Sahara as a Moroccan territory.
The letter, dated December 15, 2020, referred to the Presidential Proclamation concerning the sovereignty of Morocco over Western Sahara, and the US support for the Moroccan Autonomy Plan, and was submitted in the six official languages of the United Nations.
In the document, Craft urged the president of the Security Council to “circulate the present letter and its annex as a document of the Security Council.”
She also highlighted the fact that “Morocco’s autonomy proposal is ‘the only basis for a just and lasting solution to the dispute over the Western Sahara territory.’”
While such submission is of symbolic nature and does not necessarily carry legal weight, it was enough to prompt a UN Security Council meeting on December 21, 2020.
President Donald Trump issued the Presidential Proclamation on the Sahara issue on December 10, 2020. The proclamation notably recognized Moroccan sovereignty over Western Sahara and provided a concise summary of the US’ position on the territorial conflict.
“The United States affirms, as stated by previous Administrations, its support for Morocco’s autonomy proposal as the only basis for a just and lasting solution to the dispute over the Western Sahara territory,” the document reads, describing the Moroccan plan as “serious, credible, and realistic.”
The Presidential Proclamation also reiterated that an independent Sahrawi state is not an option, discrediting those who call for a referendum for self-determination and urging all parties to begin discussions using Morocco’s Autonomy Plan as the framework.
While pro-Polisario commentators and observers have dismissed the document’s importance, there is a growing sense that America’s newfound position on the Sahara conflict will serve as a catalyst to unravel the decades-long conflict in some significant ways.
If anything, many experts have said, a number of countries that have until now expressed diplomatic, equivocal support for Morocco’s proposal, may finally feel emboldened to come out of the closet and follow the US’ lead.
Meanwhile, some countries that have already fully embraced the Moroccan position saw the US presidential proclamation as a chance to reiterate their support for Rabat. Earlier this month, 40 countries joined Morocco and the US in a virtual conference to discuss the merits of the Moroccan Autonomy Plan.
“Morocco’s autonomy initiative is the only just and realistic solution,” said US Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs David Schenker, adding that “the international community should be supportive of Morocco’s autonomy plan as the realistic solution.”