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Rabat – Jordan announced on Thursday its decision to open a consulate general in Laayoune, southern Morocco.
King Mohammed VI welcomed the decision during a phone call with King Abdullah II, expressing his appreciation for Jordan’s recognition of Moroccan sovereignty over Western Sahara.
The Jordanian monarch also reaffirmed his country’s steadfast support for Morocco’s territorial integrity and the ongoing efforts to reach a political solution to the Western Sahara conflict.
King Abdullah II stressed Jordan’s full support for Morocco’s decision to secure the Guerguerat border crossing after a three-week blockade by the militant Polisario Front, congratulating King Mohammed VI on the successful action.
The two leaders also discussed means to improve bilateral ties between Morocco and Jordan and reviewed regional developments of mutual concern.
Jordan will become the second non-African Arab country after the UAE to open a consulate in Laayoune. A total of 16 countries, including 15 African states, have inaugurated diplomatic representations in Morocco’s southern provinces.
The Middle Eastern kingdom is a vocal proponent of Morocco’s stance in Western Sahara, emphasizing on numerous occasions the Moroccan character of the Sahara.
During the 75th session of the UN General Assembly’s Special Political and Decolonization (Fourth) Committee in October, a Jordanian delegation welcomed Morocco’s positive involvement in the UN-led political process to resolve the territorial dispute.
Jordan, through its representative at the UN, highlighted its approval of Morocco’s Autonomy Plan, which is “in accordance with all Security Council’s Resolutions and those of the General Assembly.”
Morocco submitted the autonomy initiative to the UN in 2007. It proposes making Western Sahara a semi-autonomous region under Moroccan sovereignty. The plan would give Sahrawis autonomy over their economic and political affairs while Morocco would remain responsible for the region’s diplomacy and defense.
A growing number of countries have expressed support for the Autonomy Plan and Morocco’s territorial integrity, particularly in the Arab world.
Arab support for Morocco’s position in Western Sahara is important for the North African country. Opponents of Morocco’s territorial integrity, such as South African President and AU Chairperson Cyril Ramaphosa, often attempt to liken the dispute to Israel’s occupation of Palestine.
Morocco is itself a strong defender of the Palestinian cause, and many countries, organizations, and institutions that defend Palestinians’ right to independent statehood also support Morocco’s stance in Western Sahara.
Morocco hopes the UAE and Jordan are the first of many Arab countries to consolidate their alliance by opening a consulate general in the southern cities of Laayoune or Dakhla.