Western Sahara: Washington’s Unambiguous Standpoint

PA-visite-whashingtonThe support to the autonomy plan for Western Sahara restated by the U.S. administration on the occasion of the meeting between President Obama and King Mohammed VI is clear-cut and unambiguous.
Although this is the first time that President Barack Obama voices his stand on the matter so clearly, Washington has consistently supported a political settlement of the Western Sahara issue under the aegis of the UN. And When Morocco proposed an autonomy plan for the territory in 2007, successive U.S. administrations have expressed clear-cut support to the proposal.
It is in the context of this continuity that the joint statement issued after the White House meeting should be placed. The statement actually said that “U.S. policy toward the Western Sahara has remained consistent for many years’ and that “the United States has made clear that Morocco’s autonomy plan is serious, realistic, and credible.”
The wording leaves no room for doubt as to the United States’ vision regarding the settlement of the conflict. Washington goes further by explaining that “the approach of autonomy is likely to satisfy the aspirations of local people to manage their own affairs in peace and dignity”. This is Washington’s realistic understanding of the situation in the region and of the protagonists to the conflict.
It is not therefore surprising if the joint statement does not make any reference to the Polisario Front, which seeks the Western Sahara independence. Between the lines, it is clear that Washington knows that the Polisario has no existence without Algeria and that the solution to the conflict in Western Sahara must be sought ultimately between Morocco and Algeria.

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