Axios: Biden to Uphold US Recognition of Morocco’s Western Sahara Sovereignty


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US Secretary of State Antony Blinken informed Morocco’s Foreign Affairs Minister Nasser Bourita that President Joe Biden will uphold former President Trump’s Western Sahara recognition.

Axios quoted two sources familiar with today’s call between Bourita and Blinken, saying that the US secretary told he Moroccan FM that Biden would not reverse Trump’s recognition of Morocco’s sovereignty over Western Sahara.

White House and State Department officials held multiple discussions about Western Sahara over the last few weeks, the sources said.

The discussions yielded an agreement not to reverse Trump’s policy. Instead, the US will work with Morocco on the appointment of a new UN personal envoy to replace Horst Kohler, who resigned in May 2019.

The appointment seeks to renew talks between the parties to the conflict on possible autonomy, in line with Morocco’s autonomy initiative.

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The sources’ data, however, implies that Morocco needs to intensify its efforts to secure a firm and lasting position from the US.

The sources familiar with the call said that Biden will not reverse Trump’s proclamation, “at least for now,” which hints that Morocco needs to upgrade its diplomatic channels to maintain the US position regarding Western Sahara.

Political analysts have expressed optimism regarding the recent talks Bourita and Blinken.

The officials’ discussion touched on a variety of topics, including security cooperation.

Blinken also emphasized the importance of the Israel-Morocco rapprochement.

The State Department said that Blinken welcomed Morocco’s decision to re-establish ties with Israel, arguing that cooperation between the two countries will bring long-term benefits for both parties.  

Moroccan foreign policy experts said that the decision to mention the re-establishment of Israel-Morocco ties signals that Biden’s administration has no intent to change its position regarding Western Sahara.

The mention of the rapprochement also signals that the US will abide by the tripartite joint declaration the US, Morocco, and Israel signed in December 2020, one analyst argued.

Read also: US Secretary of State Antony Blinken Holds 1st Call with Morocco’s FM