US aid to the Sahara : American senators want the Donald Trump administration to consult the UN

While the Minurso’s mandate has not been extended to monitor human rights in Western Sahara, a number of American senators want the Trump administration to consult the United Nations mission before sending aid to the region.

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American senators want the Donald Trump administration to consult the UN before sending aid to Western Sahara./Ph. DR

Senate appropriators in the USA are trying to restrict the country’s aids to Western Sahara. This was confirmed by Al-Monitor, an online newspaper based in Washington, reporting that senators want the Donald Trump’s administration to consult the United Nations before sending aids to Western Sahara.

Two US senators, namely, Lindsey Graham (Republican) and Patrick Leahy (Democrat) demanded Rex Tillerson, United States Secretary of State, to require «consultation with representatives of the United Nations Mission for the Referendum on Western Sahara (MINURSO), the UN peacekeeping mission» before granting aid to the region.

«Our intention is to support humanitarian and development programs in the Western Sahara in a manner that is consistent with MINURSO’s mandate», Leahy declared to Al-Monitor. The Democratic senator also argued saying that «for that reason we require prior consultation by the secretary of state with MINURSO». An initiative that have the blessing of Senator James Inhofe, senior United States senator from Oklahoma and a member of the Republican Party.

Lindsey Graham's former position

The same source indicates that the proposal put forward by the two senators has not been approved by the members of the United States Congress during the 2018 state department budget request.

It is clear that Lindsey Graham is now one of the Polisario supporters. His name was, however, on a letter signed by 54 senators to Hilary Clinton, then Secretary of State under President Barack Obama's first term, calling on Washington to support the Sahara autonomy plan presented by Morocco in 2007 and working for stability in the North African region.

In 2017 the Kingdom succeeded in ensuring that the funds allocated to it, in the annual international aid program of the United States, also include the Sahara. Moreover, the Congress called on the Trump administration «to support private sector investments in Western Sahara». Morocco also asked the Secretary of State to present a report «describing the measures taken to strengthen the control of the delivery of humanitarian assistance to refugees in North Africa».

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