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Top US official readies for US presence in Western Sahara



The US agreed to acknowledge Morocco’s declare over Western Sahara as a part of a deal engineered by Washington for the normalization of ties between Morocco and Israel.

The best rating U.S. diplomat for North Africa and the Center East traveled Saturday to the town of Laayoune, which Morocco considers the capital of the Western Sahara, laying the groundwork for america to arrange a consulate within the disputed territory.

The U.S. Embassy in Morocco’s capital, Rabat, referred to as the go to by Assistant Secretary of State for Close to Japanese Affairs David Schenker “historic.” 

America agreed to acknowledge Morocco’s declare over Western Sahara as a part of a deal engineered by Washington for the normalization of ties between Morocco and Israel. U.S. President Donald Trump introduced the deal final month.

Schenker visited the neighborhood of Laayoune that homes overseas consulates and met with the area’s prime Moroccan official, or wali, Abdesslam Bikrat. The American diplomat is scheduled to go Sunday to Dakhla, a seaside city with a fishing port the place the official U.S. presence within the Western Sahara possible is to be arrange over time.

Schenker’s go to comes lower than two weeks earlier than the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden on Jan. 20, when Trump is formally set to depart workplace. 

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo stated in a Christmas Eve assertion that Washington plans initially to determine a digital presence in Western Sahara to be managed from the U.S. Embassy in Morocco, targeted on selling financial and social growth. 

A “totally functioning consulate” is to comply with, the assertion stated. It didn’t point out whether or not the diplomatic submit could be in Laayoune or Dakhla.

Washington’s determination to acknowledge Morocco’s declare over the Western Sahara, which the North African kingdom annexed from Spain in 1975, was a serious coverage shift. The transfer unnerved the Polisario Entrance, a company that has spent a long time urgent for the territory’s independence, together with throughout an all-out battle with Morocco. 

The choice additionally unnerved Morocco’s neighbor Algeria, the place the Polisario Entrance is predicated.

Schenker on Saturday additionally visited the headquarters of the United Nations peacekeeping mission in Western Sahara, often known as Minurso.

He was in Algeria a day earlier, reiterating there that Morocco’s plan for Western Sahara’s autonomy ought to be the framework for negotiations, the web TSA-Algeria information website reported. 

Algerian Overseas Minister Sabri Boukadoum informed him that Algeria seeks “impartiality” from america on the matter, the official APS information company quoted a ministry assertion as saying.

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