US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman said during a visit to the US ally, that the United States reiterates its support for a Moroccan plan for autonomy in the Western Sahara to settle the kingdom’s decades-old conflict with the Polisario independence movement.
Her regional tour will also include Morocco’s arch-rival Algeria.
Sherman voiced support for Staffan de Mistura, the UN’s Western Sahara envoy, who is working to revive a peace process that has been stalled since 2019.
“We do so with an open mind to find a resolution that will lead to an enduring and dignified outcome for all parties,” Sherman told journalists after meeting with Morocco’s top diplomat Nasser Bourita.
Bourita noted Washington’s “clear and constant position” on Western Sahara and the autonomy plan.
Rabat sees the vast stretch of desert, a former Spanish colony with rich phosphate resources and access to lucrative Atlantic fishing waters, as an integral part of its territory.
Polisario Front separatists took up arms in the 1970s and have continued to demand an independence referendum on the basis of a 1991 deal that included a cease-fire.
In late 2020, the Trump administration recognized Moroccan sovereignty over Western Sahara as a quid pro quo for the kingdom mending ties with Israel.
The Biden administration has not reversed Trump’s decision.
The deal sparked renewed tensions with neighboring Algeria, which has long supported the Polisario.
The movement has declared the 1991 cease-fire null and void.
Bourita noted Washington’s “clear and constant position” on Western Sahara and the autonomy plan