Wednesday, August 10

The US Secretary of State visits Morocco and Algeria next week


Among the many questions still unanswered about how and why the Government’s decision to Pedro Sanchez to take the historical turn with respect to Western Sahara and recognize for the first time the Moroccan autonomy plan there is the one about what role it has been able to play United States in that shift, especially because it came after Wendy Sherman, number 2 of the US State Department, held meetings in Madrid and Rabat and also in Algeria.

What does not raise any questions is that Washington, where the Administration of Joe Biden has maintained the recognition of Moroccan sovereignty over the Sahara that Donald Trump made in December 2020 and that led to the reestablishment of diplomatic relations between Morocco and Israel and an increase in military cooperation between Washington and Rabat, is a fundamental actor and interested in the events.

That certainty was ratified this Thursday, when it was announced that the head of US diplomacy, Anthony Blinkenwill visit Morocco and Algeria next week as part of a trip between the 26th and 30th that will also take him to Israel and Gaza.

“Regional Affairs”

The release of the Department of State does not mention the Sahara issue directly. He only says that the Secretary of State will meet in the Alaouite kingdom with the Moroccan Foreign Minister, Nasser Bourita, and other senior officials “to exchange points of view on regional affairs and bilateral cooperation, as well as to promote human rights and fundamental freedoms”.

In Algeria, meanwhile, Blinken will hold meetings with the president, Abdelmadjid Tebboune, and the foreign minister, Ramtane Lamamra. In addition to human rights and freedoms, they will speak, according to the announcement, “of stability and security regional, trade cooperation and other areas of mutual concern“.

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Sherman already met with Lamamra on March 10 and on that occasion showed, according to the statement issued by the State Department, support for “UN-led diplomacy in Western Sahara”. It is a language similar to that used by Spain and the Foreign Minister, José Manuel Albares, defended on Tuesday and Wednesday in sessions in the Senate and Congress that Spain, despite the new position, continues ” within the framework of the UN and defending international legality”.

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In Algeria, Blinken will also participate in the Algiers International Trade Fair, the largest of its kind in Africa, where the US is the country of honor, and will hold meetings with business representatives “to address the deepening of economic ties and promote trade and investment between the US and Algeria”.

Blinken’s trip ends on the 30th, the same day that Sánchez is going to appear before Congress to explain the decision to support Morocco’s autonomy plan for the first time. The change has improved relations with the Alaouite kingdom but has strained them with Algeria and within Spain it has created enormous discomfort between the partners and allies of the Government, a internal storm in the PSOE and criticism from the opposition.


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