The United States renews support for Moroccan plan on Western Sahara

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United States United StatesThe United States (US) on Tuesday reiterated its support for a Moroccan plan for autonomy in Western Sahara to settle a decades-old dispute with the Polisario Front. The US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Ruth Sherman said during a visit to the US ally, “We continue to view Morocco’s autonomy plan as serious, credible and realistic.” She also met with Morocco’s top diplomat Nasser Bourita. Reportedly, she will also visit Algeria.

Bourita said that the US is clear about the autonomy plan of Morocco on Western Sahara. Sherman also voiced support for Staffan de Mistura, the United Nations’ Western Sahara envoy. Staffan de Mistura is working to establish peace in the disputed territory of Western Sahara, which has been stalled since 2019.

Polisario Front

The Algeria-backed breakaway movement Polisario Front took up arms in the 1970s to establish an independent state in the region. An agreement was made on this matter in 1991. After the 1991 agreement, Morocco controlled the majority of Western Sahara. However, the Polisario independence movement declared the 1991 ceasefire null and void.

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In 2020, the Polisario Front ended a 29-year cease-fire with Morocco after a confrontation with the Moroccan army. Subsequently, in late 2020, former US President Donald Trump recognised Moroccan sovereignty over Western Sahara in exchange for Morocco normalising diplomatic ties with Israel. The current President of the US, Joe Biden, has not reversed Trump’s decision. It also led to tensions between Morocco and Algeria. Later on, the Polisario launched multiple attacks on Moroccan forces, killing six Moroccan soldiers.

Earlier, the UN’s Polisario Front representative said that the only way to establish peace in the territory is to end the current conflict. Polisario front independence activists also expressed frustration at decades-old conflict. Sherman and Bourita also talked about the Russia-Ukraine war. They also discussed the promotion of women’s rights in Morocco.

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