Moroccan Foreign Minister Tony Blinken told Moroccan Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita on Friday that the Biden administration would not make President Trump recognize Morocco’s sovereignty over the western Sahara, at least for the moment, two sources. Familiar with the call, tell me.
Why is this important: Trump’s perception of the Western Sahara as part of Morocco pushes U.S. policies back decades on disputed territories and is part of a broader deal that includes a renewal of ties. Diplomatic between Morocco and Israel
- The US decision last December was a long-sought diplomatic breakthrough for Morocco. The kingdom was worried that it could turn around when Biden took office.
- Israel is also concerned that a policy reversal would jeopardize the normalization process with Morocco.
- The United States is the only western country to recognize Morocco̵7;s sovereignty over the western Sahara, which was annexed by Morocco in 1975 after the former Spanish colony surrendered control.
Background story: There was hardly any contact between the Biden government and the Moroccan government during the first three months of the new administration.
- Ten days ago, Biden’s Middle Eastern adviser, Brett McGurk, spoke to Bourita and felt there would be no change in US policy on the Western Sahara, a source familiar with the call told me.
- The State Department read Blinken’s call with Bourita on Friday, making no mention of Western Sahara. But two sources familiar with the calls confirmed the talks and Blinken said the Biden administration would not reverse Trump’s policy for now.
- As the Foreign Ministry reads Blinken, “is pleased with Morocco’s steps to improve relations with Israel and noted that the Moroccan-Israeli relationship will create long-term benefits for both countries”.
Playing status: Senior White House and State Department officials have held a series of discussions on the issue over the past few weeks.
- The decisions made from these discussions are in no way a reverse Trump policy. Rather, it is working with the Moroccan to appoint a new United Nations ambassador for the Western Sahara to try to continue negotiations on possible independence for the sparsely populated territory. With those discussions
- The State Department referred to Axios to read the official information and did not deny the content of the story.