US Assistant Secretary of State David Schenker Visits Laayoune

US Assistant Secretary of State David Shenker Visits Laayoune. Photo: USEmbMorocco/ Twitter

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The US Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs, David Shenker arrived this morning in Laayoune, the US embassy in Morocco announced in a Twitter post.

Upon his arrival at Hassan I Airport in Laayoune, Schenker was greeted by the wali (governor) of the Laayoune-Sakia El Hamra region, Abdeslem Bekrate. 

The US diplomat toured the city of Laayoune, visiting in particular the diplomatic quarter that houses the consulates of several countries and the headquarter of the United Nations mission in the Sahara (MINURSO).

Schenker’s regional trip was scheduled to take place from January 3-13 to visit Morocco, Jordan, and Algeria. 

According to the US Department of State, the visit seeks to underscore America’s “deep commitment” to boost economic prosperity, stability, and peace in the Middle East and North Africa. 

Prior to visiting southern Morocco, the US official traveled to Algeria on Thursday, January 7.  In discussions with Algeria’s top diplomats, Schenker reiterated the US position on Western Sahara in support of Morocco’s Autonomy Plan, in defiance of Algeria’s continuous opposition to Morocco’s sovereignty over the region.

He notably told top Algerian diplomats Morocco’s proposal is the only “serious, realistic and credible” solution to end the conflict. 

The news comes amid the US plans to open a consulate in Dakhla, southern Morocco, a symbolic move that is set to emphasize the country’s support for Morocco’s territorial integrity and play a significant role in boosting economic development in the region. 

Read also: US Algiers Statement Shows Rapid Evolution of Western Sahara Issue

In addition to recognizing Morocco’s sovereignty and supporting socio-economic development projects in the southern provinces, the US also plans to open a “Prosper Africa Office” in Morocco to support and promote trade between the US and Africa. Washington has pledged to provide 1 billion dollars in support of the initiative.