The US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, has defended the Moroccan autonomy plan for Western Sahara: “It is a serious, credible and realistic proposal”, he has stated on his first official visit to Morocco. He has also shown his support for the United Nations mission in Western Sahara (Minurso). A few words that his Moroccan counterpart, Nasser Bourita, has used to ask Europe to “come out of its comfort zone” and support the Moroccan proposal for autonomy for this territory taking Spain as an example.
“There is an international dynamic of support for the Moroccan autonomy plan for Western Sahara, Spain’s position is not an isolated position. It is the position of the United States, Germany, France, Arab and African countries and other territories, ”the head of Moroccan diplomacy defended on Tuesday at a press conference after his meeting with Blinken.
Burita also applauded Pedro Sánchez’s letter to the Moroccan king, Mohamed VI, in which he describes the plan presented by Rabat as “the most serious, credible and realistic basis” to find a way out of Western Sahara. “This is very positive progress,” said Bourita.
Blinken’s visit to Rabat takes place three days before the Spanish Foreign Minister, José Manuel Albares, lands in the Moroccan capital to stage the recent rapprochement between the two countries. A meeting that seeks to establish the foundations of the new relationship and close the diplomatic crisis that began a year ago with the arrival of the leader of the Polisario Front, Brahim Ghali, at a hospital in Rioja and the entry into Ceuta of more than 10,000 people from from Morocco.
After the visit to the Moroccan Foreign Ministry, the US Secretary of State also met with the President of the Moroccan Government, Aziz Akhannouch, and held a meeting with the Crown Prince of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan.
The US representative has visited Rabat after a tour of the Middle East and North Africa. Blinken met on Monday with foreign officials from Israel, Morocco, Egypt, Bahrain and the UAE at the “Negev Summit.” This event brought together on Israeli soil the countries of the region that have normalized relations with Israel.
The Israeli Foreign Minister, Yair Lapid, used the occasion to show his support for the Moroccan autonomy proposal for Western Sahara. In a statement after the meeting, he stated that they would work together to counter “attempts to weaken the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Morocco,” according to the Reuters agency. The head of Israeli diplomacy also described the recent change in position of the Spanish Government as a “positive advance”.
The US Secretary of State is going to close his agenda in the Maghreb with an official visit to Algiers to meet with President Abdelmadjid Tebboune and Foreign Minister Ramtane Lamamra. The Algerian authorities have been very reluctant to approach Israel to Morocco, in addition, they maintain a historical dispute with their North African neighbor with Western Sahara as one of the main points of disagreement. Algeria is the main ally of the Polisario Front and has always called for a self-determination referendum for the former Spanish colony.
The Russian invasion of Ukraine and the concern about gas are going to be other topics that will be the focus of the US representative’s visit. Algeria is one of the countries in the region that maintains better relations with Moscow, it is also one of the main gas suppliers to Europe through the gas pipelines that connect the Algerian reserves with Spain and Italy.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.