Wide Angle

Sahara : Morocco’s Foreign Minister replies to voices criticizing Trump’s recognition

In a column published by several newspapers, Morocco’s Foreign Minister replied in his way to voices criticizing the US recognition of Morocco’s sovereignty over the Sahara.

Foreign Affairs Minister Nasser Bourita. / DR
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Almost two months after the Trump administration recognized Morocco’s sovereignty over the Sahara, the Minister of Foreign Affairs explained the benefits of the presidential decree.

In a column published by Paris-based magazine Jeune Afrique, Achark Al Awsat and El Mundo, Nasser Bourita wrote that the American recognition «brings us closer to a solution».

The Minister said that the American decision was «surprising». «It surprised some parties and confirmed the opinion of many others. Much ink has been spilled about it. It has also made some freak out», he wrote.

To the Minister, this recognition is the result and logical progression of events, referring to the Moroccan autonomy initiative, which was «the result of in-depth consultations between the King and the Clinton administration».

«Submitted in consultation with the Bush administration, a Republican, it was then supported by the Obama administration, a Democrat. These successive administrations have all given their support to autonomy as a solution to this regional dispute», he stressed.

For the record, Hillary Clinton, then the United States Secretary of State, called «the Moroccan autonomy plan serious, realistic and credible», during a press briefing held on March 24, 2011 in the Kingdom.

Bourita responds to the mobilization of supporters of Algeria

«Beyond the support they provide to Morocco through public policy statements, the United States has made available to it, since 2015, a financial line for the benefit of the provinces of the Moroccan Sahara», the Minister of Foreign Affairs recalled.

It is worth mentioning that it was under Barack Obama's second term that Washington extended its financial assistance, through USAID, to development projects launched by the Kingdom in the Sahara. The decision was made during the meeting between King Mohammed VI and President Obama on November 22, 2013 in Washington DC.

Nasser Bourita said, moreover, that «the American proclamation goes hand in hand with the evolution of the dossier within the United Nations. First, through the declarations of many former UN envoys who insisted that ‘the independence of the Sahara’ was not a realistic option».

Of course, the Minister of Foreign Affairs does not refer to James Baker or Christopher Ross who openly denounced Donald Trump's recognition. Only Peter van Walsum made observations in this sense. On the other hand, Horst Köhler still observes silence.

Nasser Bourita's statement comes as Algerian lobbyists in the United States have succeeded in mobilizing 45 academics and lawyers from different countries to urge President Joe Biden to cancel the recognition. A campaign which the Algerian members of parliament have just joined. Not to mention that John Bolton keeps asking the current White House tenant to make a U-turn on Trump's decision.

Donald Trump's decision of December 10 had a major impact on the Sahara issue media coverage. Senator James Inhofe raised it on January 19 during the hearing of Pentagon chief General Lloyd Austin before the Senate Defense Committee. Antony Blinken evaded a question on the same subject during his first press conference as the new US Secretary of State.

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