Washington reaffirms support for autonomy plan for Moroccan Sahara   

The Moroccan autonomy plan for Western Sahara is “serious, realistic and credible”. The remarks were made Friday (June 29) in Rabat, by the number two of American diplomacy, John Sullivan, cornering the Polisario and its Algerian sponsors.

“This is a serious, realistic and credible plan that can satisfy the aspirations of the people in the Western Sahara to run their own affairs in peace and dignity,” Sullivan said at a joint press briefing with Moroccan Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita.

“We support the United Nations’ diplomatic process and efforts to find a peaceful, sustainable and mutually acceptable political solution to the conflict,” Sullivan said, adding that “the most important is “our dialogue with the Moroccan Government and our support for what we consider to be a serious and realistic plan”.

Morocco had submitted the autonomy initiative to the UN in 2007.

This position, as expressed by Sullivan, is not new. The various administrations that have succeeded each other in the White House, whether Republican or Democrats, have repeatedly affirmed that the Moroccan autonomy plan is “serious, realistic and credible” and constitutes “a potential approach that could satisfy the aspirations (of the populations) of Western Sahara”.

What gives more weight to John Sullivan’s statement is the fact that it coincided with the trip of the UN envoy for the Sahara, Horst Köhler, in the southern provinces of the Kingdom, part of his second tour in the region to relaunch negotiations on the Sahara issue.

The US diplomat’s remarks also came on the eve of the opening of the African Union summit in Nouakchott (Mauritania) on Sunday, during which AU Commission President Moussa Faki Mahamat presented a report on the Sahara issue. Analysts described the report as balanced.

In addition, John Sullivan chose Rabat to express Washington’s position on the Sahara while he did not bring up the issue during his trip to Algeria. In Algiers, the US official limited his talks to security and economic matters although his Algerian interlocutors attempted to approach the question, addressing thus a meaningful message to Algerian leaders.

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