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Morocco : Implementing the Sahara autonomy plan to convince Joe Biden

Trump's term has ended on a positive note for the Sahara file. What will be the position of the Biden administration regarding the Moroccan autonomy plan?

US President elect Joe Biden. / DR
Estimated read time: 2'

In the United States, President Donald Trump’s recognition of Morocco’s sovereignty over the Sahara is still making headlines. John Bolton, Trump’s former National Security Advisor, Republican Senator James Inhofe, and other academics close to the left wing of the Democratic Party are leading a campaign to make the Biden administration backtrack on the presidential decree.

To cope with this intense lobbying, Morocco can count on the context during which this recognition was announced, namely the resumption of diplomatic ties with Israel. The country can also benefit from the autonomy plan proposed in 2007, which was hailed by the Trump administration.

«Although the Western Sahara question is not a priority for President-elect Joe Biden,as he will have to deal with more important national issues, he is expected to address the subject shortly after his inauguration», a source close to the case told Yabiladi.

«To deal with the growing pressure put by American media, the Kingdom will have to use some of its political, security and geostrategic cards. Also, acting on the autonomy plan project will help silence the voices demanding a U-turn on Trump’s decision», the same source added.

Sahrawi youth and the autonomy plan

In addition to these political considerations intended to win the confidence of the future White House tenant, the Sahrawi youth aspire to play a role in the management of their daily life. They want to see the start, as soon as possible, of a real autonomy plan in the Sahara.

«In the recent months, the file has seen rapid developments. These developments should lead to the operationalization of the Moroccan initiative», Sheikh El Mami Ahmed Bazeid, president of Dakhla-based Assalam Association for the Protection of Maritime Heritage, told Yabiladi.

«This is in everyone's interest, including our brothers in the Tindouf camps, who have been invited by the government and political parties to return to Morocco in recent weeks. Effective autonomy will be able to respond to their demands and give them reasons for optimism, while the option of independence is losing ground», the association added.

«The intervention of the Royal Armed Forces in Guerguerate on November 13 seriously put into question all the Polisario's propaganda on this subject».

Sheikh El Mami Ahmed Bazeid

But faced with the operationalization of the Moroccan plan, there are also internal obstacles. Since its presentation in 2007, political parties, such as the USFP and the PJD, had pleaded for its implementation without waiting for the outcome of the negotiation process conducted under the auspices of the United Nations. 

The recognition of Morocco’s sovereignty over the Sahara and the arrival of the Biden administration could help concretize the political project that has been on stand-by for more than 13 years.

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