Bahrain Opens Consulate in The Moroccan-Controlled Western Sahara

Published December 16th, 2020 - 10:43 GMT
This file photo taken on December 12, 2020 shows (L to R) US and Moroccan flags next to a US State Department-authorised map of Morocco recognising the internationally-disputed territory of the Western Sahara (bearing a signature by US Ambassador to Morocco David T. Fischer) as a part of the North African kingdom, in Morocco's capital Rabat. US President Donald Trump's surprise backing of Morocco's claim to sovereignty over disputed Western Sahara upended years of international consensus, but will this brea
This file photo taken on December 12, 2020 shows (L to R) US and Moroccan flags next to a US State Department-authorised map of Morocco recognising the internationally-disputed territory of the Western Sahara (bearing a signature by US Ambassador to Morocco David T. Fischer) as a part of the North African kingdom, in Morocco's capital Rabat. US President Donald Trump's surprise backing of Morocco's claim to sovereignty over disputed Western Sahara upended years of international consensus, but will this break a deadlock or inflame a conflict? AFP
Highlights
As part of the agreement with Morocco announced last week, Trump agreed to recognize Morocco’s sovereignty over Western Sahara.

Bahrain has opened a consulate in Moroccan-controlled Western Sahara, after US President Donald Trump agreed to recognize the North African country’s sovereignty over the disputed territory as part of a normalization agreement between Rabat and the Israeli regime.

During a ceremony in the coastal city of Laayoune on Monday, Bahraini Foreign Minister Abdullatif bin Rashid al-Zayani and his Moroccan counterpart Nasser Bourita opened the mission.

Bahrain’s official news agency BNA quoted al-Zayani as saying that the opening of the consulate constitutes a “historic stage” in the Persian Gulf kingdom’s strong relations with Morocco.

Late last month, Morocco’s Royal palace announced Bahrain was planning to open a consulate in Western Sahara and the decision came after a phone call between King Mohammed VI and Bahraini King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifah.

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) was the first Arab state to open a diplomatic mission in Laayoune in November.

Morocco, in a deal brokered by Trump’s outgoing administration, became the fourth Arab state this year to strike a normalization deal with Israel, following the UAE, Bahrain and Sudan.

As part of the agreement with Morocco announced last week, Trump agreed to recognize Morocco’s sovereignty over Western Sahara.

Algeria, however, rejected Trump’s stance, saying the step would undermine efforts to end the decades-long conflict over the desert territory.

The Algerian Foreign Ministry said the US decision “has no legal effect because it contradicts UN resolutions, especially UN Security Council resolutions on Western Sahara.”

“The proclamation would undermine the de-escalation efforts made at all levels in order to pave the way for launching a real political process,” the ministry said in a statement.

Morocco annexed Western Sahara — a former Spanish colony — in 1975, and has since been in conflict with the Algeria-backed Polisario Front.

The movement has been fighting for independence of the Sahrawi people in Western Sahara and a referendum on their self-determination. 

This article has been adapted from its original source.


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