Why US recognizes Moroccan sovereignty over Western Sahara

Donald Trump announced Washington’s recognition of Moroccan sovereignty over Western Sahara. While Morocco welcomes this decision, the UN is sticking to its position to settle the territory’s status based on Security Council resolutions. Meanwhile, Trump noted that “Morocco recognized the United States in 1777. It is thus fitting we recognize their sovereignty over Western Sahara”.

The United States recognizes Morocco’s sovereignty over Western Sahara, the American President said on Thursday, December 10.

“Today, I signed a proclamation recognizing Moroccan sovereignty over the Western Sahara. Morocco’s serious, credible, and realistic autonomy proposal is the ONLY basis for a just and lasting solution for enduring peace and prosperity!” Donald Trump wrote on Twitter.

The President recalled that Morocco recognized the United States in 1777. “It is thus fitting we recognize their sovereignty over Western Sahara,” concluded Mr. Trump.

According to a statement released by the White House, the United States “urges the parties to proceed immediately to discussions, guided by the Moroccan autonomy plan as the only basis for negotiations on a mutually acceptable solution”.

“The United States will encourage economic and social development with Morocco, including in the territory of Western Sahara, and will open a consulate there in Dakhla to promote economic and trade opportunities for the region”, details the document.

Morocco welcomes US decision, UN position remains unchanged

Morocco considers the US President’s decision to recognize the kingdom’s sovereignty over Western Sahara to be very important, Moroccan Foreign Minister Nasser Burita told reporters in Rabat.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres “has an unchanged position” on Western Sahara after Donald Trump’s decision, his spokesman Stéphane Dujarric said on Thursday, December 10.

“The solution to this issue can always be found based on Security Council resolutions,” he added.

Western Sahara, the bone of contention

The status of Western Sahara has for decades opposed Morocco to the separatists of the Polisario Front supported by Algeria. The UN has classified this desert region as “non-self-governing territory” in the absence of a final settlement.

Morocco controls more than two-thirds of Western Sahara, along the Atlantic Ocean.

A cease-fire was signed in September 1991 under the UN’s aegis, after 16 years of war. The negotiations led by the UN and involving Morocco, the Polisario Front, Algeria, and Mauritania have been suspended for several months.

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