The US to Open Consulate in Western Sahara After Trump’s Recognized Morocco’s Sovereignty Over it

Published December 27th, 2020 - 06:55 GMT
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement that the process of opening the facility has begun.

The State Department said Thursday the United States will open a consulate in Western Sahara following President Donald Trump’s decision to recognise Morocco’s sovereignty over the disputed region.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement that the process of opening the facility has begun.

That process involves finding and securing a suitable property for a mission before personnel are hired. It was not immediately clear when or where it would be open but until then Pompeo said the US Embassy in Rabat would operate a virtual consulate to serve Western Sahara.

Trump announced on December 10 that the US would recognise Morocco’s claim to Western Sahara as part of a deal for the North African country to normalise relations with Israel.

The Trump administration has put a priority on securing such deals between Arab states and Israel and has thus far concluded four: the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Sudan and Morocco.

Jared Kushner, son-in-law and adviser to the US president, took his seat Tuesday alongside an Israeli delegation on the first Israel-Morocco direct commercial flight, before signing a declaration which provides for the opening of a US consulate in the Western Sahara port city of Dakhla.

“Pleased to announce the beginning of the process to establish a US consulate in Western Sahara,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo tweeted Thursday.

“Effective immediately, we are inaugurating a virtual presence post for Western Sahara,” he added in a statement, specifying that the post would be “followed soon by a fully functioning consulate.”

“This virtual presence post will be managed by the US Embassy in Rabat” with a focus on promoting economic and social development, Pompeo said, without providing a timetable for the consulate.

He added that the United States “will continue to support political negotiations to resolve the issues between Morocco and the Polisario.”

This article has been adapted from its original source.     

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