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Rabat – Morocco and the Republic of Sao Tome and Principe have signed a cooperation agreement for the 2021-2022 period.
Morocco’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Nasser Bourita signed the agreement with his counterpart from Sao Tome and Principe Edite Tenjua after the two officials met on Friday in Rabat to discuss their countries’ improving bilateral ties.
The roadmap agreement reflects the determination of Morocco and Sao Tome and Principe to boost cooperation in a wide range of fields.
The roadmap partnership covers several sectors, including education, vocational training, technical cooperation, and investments.
Sao Tome and Principe is among the countries that support Morocco’s territorial integrity.
Last week, the president of the National Assembly of Sao Tome and Principe, Delfim Santiago Das Neves, expressed solidarity with Morocco’s position on Western Sahara. Das Neves condemned Polisario’s maneuvers in Guerguerat and welcomed Morocco’s legitimate intervention to set a security corridor in the buffer zone.
In defiance of UN resolutions and the status quo of the Guerguerat buffer zone, Polisario supporters blocked the Guerguerat crossing point on October 21.
The Polisario blockade caused a serious food shortage in Mauritania and distressed hundreds of Moroccan truckers, laying the groundwork for unprecedented escalations in the Sahara dossier since the UN-negotiated ceasefire in 1991.
In his statement of support for Morocco’s position on Western Sahara, Das Neves strongly repudiated Polisario’s blockade, describing it as criminal.
“We believe that, in the name of legality, plausible solutions to [protect] the movement of people and goods will be found so as to … to ensure the security of the population,” he said.
In response to Polisario’s maneuvers in Guerguerat, Morocco mobilized its army in the region to preserve the free circulation of goods and people.
Unsurprisingly, Morocco’s actions caused frustration in pro-Polisario circles.
While many international observers have pointed out that Polisario’s acts in Guerguerat constituted an overt violation of the 1991 truce, Polisario’s supporters have pushed forth the false narrative that Morocco breached the ceasefire agreement by “attacking peaceful demonstrators.”
To their dismay, however, many countries and observers have expressed support for Morocco’s Guerguerat operation, roundly condemning Polisario’s acts and calculated escalation tactic.
Sao Tome and Principe is also among the countries that recently opened general consulates in Morocco’s southern provinces.
The country inaugurated its diplomatic representation in southern Morocco in January, reflecting its firm support for Morocco’s territorial integrity.
Several other countries have since followed suit, including the UAE, Cote d’Ivoire, Eswatini, and Zambia. Most recently, Jordan informed Morocco of its decision to open a consulate in Morocco in the near future.
King Abdullah II of Jordan notified King Mohammed VI of the decision during a phone call on Thursday, according to a statement from Morocco’s royal cabinet.
The Moroccan government, meanwhile, is confident that more countries will open consulates in the region in the coming months.