The United States confirmed on Tuesday that its African Lion 21 military exercises, which will take place next Monday in Morocco, Tunisia and Senegal, will take place in areas of southern Morocco outside of Western Sahara, a spokesperson explained to the Efe agency. of the Central Command of the Armed Forces (Africom). This source explained that the exercises, which are among the most important on the African continent and in which Spain will not participate, will extend “from the Kenitra air base, in northern Morocco, to the Tan Tan and Guerir training areas. Labuji, in the south, ”reports Efe.
The confirmation of the US high command refutes the assertion of the President of the Moroccan Government, Saadedín Otmani, that part of joint maneuvers with the US would take place “for the first time in Western Sahara.”
The privileged bilateral relationship between the United States and Morocco has been evident in recent months, but it does not go back to the recognition by Donald Trump of Moroccan sovereignty over the Sahara, in December. The gesture of approval towards Rabat by the US State Department, during the recent conflict in Gaza, could be interpreted in Rabat as a party taking, but the qualification of Africom on the location of the exercises at least disarms the attempts to instrumentalize the territory of the old Spanish colony.
The good bilateral relations between the US and Morocco, proof of the geostrategic importance of the North African country, date back to the time of independence from France, when Rabat opted for the US in an attempt to distance itself from its archrival Algeria, in the orbit of the Soviet Union. The bond was strengthened during the Cold War. Morocco is the key that allows access to the Mediterranean, where the United States has several military, naval and air bases.
For its part, the UN, in an exercise of equidistance, on Tuesday encouraged Spain and Morocco to dialogue to resolve the current crisis and defended the international body’s position on Western Sahara, that is, a mutually satisfactory political solution. “When there are tensions between two Member States, be they Spain and Morocco or others, we always encourage an open dialogue between the two parties to resolve any issue caused by the crisis,” said spokesman Stéphane Dujarric.
The UN, stressed the spokesman, continues to behave in relation to Western Sahara by the resolutions adopted by the Security Council. “This continues to be our position,” insisted the spokesman for the UN Secretary General, António Guterres, questioned about the situation after the recognition of Moroccan sovereignty in Western Sahara by the US in the final stretch of Donald Trump’s mandate. .
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.