Two sources said Foreign Minister Tony Blinken told Moroccan Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita on Friday that the Biden administration would not reflect President Trump’s recognition of Morocco’s sovereignty over Western Sahara, at least for the time being. .
why does it matter: Trump’s recognition of Western Sahara as part of Morocco, he reversed US policy toward the disputed region for decades, and was part of a broader deal that included the renewal of diplomatic relations between Morocco and Israel.
- The US decision last December was a long-awaited diplomatic achievement for Morocco. The kingdom was concerned about the possibility of withdrawing once Biden took office.
- Israel also expressed concern that reversing the policy would harm the normalization process with Morocco.
- The United States is the only Western country to recognize Morocco’s sovereignty over Western Sahara, which Morocco annexed in 1975 after Spain, the former colonial power, relinquished its control.
Backstory: There was no actual contact between the Biden government and the Moroccan government during the first three months of the new government’s formation.
- Ten days earlier, Biden’s Middle East advisor, Brett McGurk, spoke to Burita, giving the impression that there would be no change in US policy toward Western Sahara, a source familiar with the call said.
- The State Department reading of Blinkin’s invitation to Buretta on Friday did not mention Western Sahara, but two sources familiar with the call confirmed it had been discussed and that Blinken said the Biden government would not reflect Trump’s policies at this time.
- According to the Foreign Ministry statement, “Blinken welcomed Moroccan steps to improve relations with Israel and indicated that the Moroccan-Israeli relationship will bring long-term benefits to both countries.”
Gameplay condition: Senior officials from the White House and State Department have had multiple discussions on the issue in recent weeks.
- The decision that resulted from these discussions was not a reflection of Trump’s policies, but rather worked with Moroccans to appoint a new UN envoy to Western Sahara to try to address talks about potential autonomy for the sparsely populated region, according to two sources with knowledge of Western Sahara. Thing. With those discussions.
- The Foreign Ministry referred Axios to the official statement and did not deny the content of this story.
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