The United States adopted Saturday a “new official” map of Morocco that includes the disputed territory of Western Sahara, the ambassador to Rabat said.
“This map is a tangible representation of President Trump’s bold proclamation two days ago — recognising Morocco’s sovereignty over Western Sahara,” Ambassador David Fischer said.
He then signed the “new official US government map of the kingdom of Morocco” at a ceremony at the US embassy in the capital Rabat.
The map will be presented to Morocco’s King Mohammed VI, he added.
Western Sahara is a disputed former Spanish colony, mostly under Morocco’s control, where tensions with the Polisario Front have simmered since the 1970s. Historical evidence points to ties of allegiance between tribes in the area and Morocco’s monarchy.
Morocco on Thursday said it would resume diplomatic ties with Israel.
US President Donald Trump in turn fulfilled a decades-old goal of Morocco by backing its contested sovereignty in Western Sahara.
???? America's New Map of Morocco ? https://t.co/xAPMoAH4XY— Prof. Michael Tanchum (@michaeltanchum) December 12, 2020
A White House proclamation said the United States believes that an independent Sahrawi State is “not a realistic option for resolving the conflict and that genuine autonomy under Moroccan sovereignty is the only feasible solution.”
“We urge the parties to engage in discussions without delay, using Morocco’s autonomy plan as the only framework to negotiate a mutually acceptable solution,” it said.
In a news conference Friday, Moroccan Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita hailed US recognition of Western Sahara’s “Moroccan identity” as a “historic diplomatic breakthrough.”
“Several years of work” had been “crowned with the recognition of the United States, the major power on the (UN) Security Council,” he said in an interview.
The Polisario dismissed the announcement and vowed to fight on until Moroccan forces withdraw from all of Western Sahara.
Prime Minister Abdelaziz Djerad — Morocco’s neighbour and regional rival, and the key foreign backer of the Polisario Front — on Saturday criticised “foreign manoeuvres” that he said aimed to “destabilise Algeria”.
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