Western Sahara: Washington’s Unequivocal Support to Autonomy under Moroccan Sovereignty

Algeria and the Polisario Front were shocked by Washington’s recent stance on the Western Sahara issue, endorsing Morocco’s main claims, including its autonomy proposal for the Sahara.

In the FY2017 Appropriations Bill promulgated on May 5 by President Donald Trump, the US Congress indeed asks the Secretary of State to “pursue a negotiated settlement of this dispute, consistent with the US policy to support a solution based on a formula of autonomy under Moroccan sovereignty”.

Among the other provisions contained in the report accompanying the bill, it is stipulated that “the funds made available for assistance for Morocco shall also be made available for any region or territory administered by Morocco, including the Western Sahara”.

In the same report, the US Administration is encouraged to “support private sector investment in Western Sahara”, ignoring thus the campaigns staged by the Polisario and Algerian diplomats and media against foreign investments in the southern provinces of Morocco, whose independence is claimed by the Algeria-backed separatist Front.

In addition, the US Secretary of State is invited to submit within 45 days a report to the Appropriations Committee “describing steps taken to strengthen monitoring of the delivery of humanitarian assistance provided for refugees in North Africa”. This is an unequivocal allusion to the population of the Tindouf camps and to the large-scale diversion of the humanitarian assistance destined to these camps, by the Polisario in connivance with Algerian officials.

It is therefore a new blow dealt to the Polisario leaders and their Algerian sponsors after the one that was dealt to them at the end of last April by the UN Security Council.

In Resolution 2351 on the Sahara that was unanimously adopted, the Security Council has backed Morocco’s position by, among other things, consecrating its autonomy proposal for the Sahara and forcing the Polisario to withdraw its militiamen from the Guerguerat buffer zone.

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