James Baker criticizes the United States’ recognition of Moroccan claims to Western Sahara

“The Moroccan autonomy plan is the only realistic option to achieve a just, lasting and mutually acceptable solution to the dispute over Western Sahara,” the White House said in a statement last week.

But the move was criticized because it tore up the status quo in a decades-long conflict.

Much of Western Sahara – a former Spanish territory – is de facto administered by Morocco after it invaded it in 1975, while the SADR controls a small portion of the territory. Negotiations between the two sides have been at a diplomatic dead end for decades, with the United Nations calling for some form of self-determination for the Sahrawi people.

Baker said that recognizing Morocco’s claim would increase the impasse, any hope in negotiations, and might endanger US alliances in the region. He specifically mentioned Algeria, which supports the Polisario Sahrawi Front and Morocco’s main rival in the Maghreb. Baker notes that Algeria is a strategic partner for the United States in North Africa.

Baker wrote: “The Trump administration’s recognition of Moroccan sovereignty over Western Sahara is a major and unfortunate change in the long-standing policy of the United States under both Democratic and Republican administrations.” “The confusion between the Ibrahim Accords and the Western Sahara conflict, which is an issue of self-determination, clearly and unequivocally, will not strengthen or expand the agreements.”

Baker served as Secretary of State from 1989 to 1992 under President George HW Bush and was at the United Nations The Secretary-General’s envoy to Western Sahara soon after.

Baker is not alone in condemning the move that contradicts the positions of the United Nations, the European Union and the African Union. Senator Jim Inhove (R-Oklahoma) This move condemned Last week, saying he found the policy shift “very shocking and frustrating”. He said he was “sad that the rights of the people of Western Sahara have been waived.”

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Also former National Security Adviser John Bolton Criticize the decision Tuesday he urged President-elect Joe Biden to back down.

“Trump’s decision to throw the Sahrawi people under the bus leaves three decades of American support for self-determination via a referendum for the Sahrawi people on the future status of the region,” Bolton Wrote In foreign policy.

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