US reaffirms support for Morocco’s Sahara plan ahead of Pompeo’s visit

The US reiterated its support for Morocco’s Sahara autonomy initiative one week ahead of a planned visit to Morocco by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

“The Sahara issue is a priority for Moroccans and we are engaged together with the UN to advance a political solution,” a senior US official said.

“Our position remains steady,” highlighting the relevance of the autonomy plan as a “serious, credible and realistic” solution.

He also said the US is in favor of maintaining the mandate of the UN mission in the Sahara (MINURSO) as it has been renewed by the UN Security Council for another year without adding human rights monitoring.

The Security Council in its latest resolution on the Sahara praised the work of Morocco’s human rights council in monitoring the human rights situation in Dakhla and Laayoune.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will travel next week to Morocco, seeing the kingdom as a partner in US regional goals.

His visit is the first for a US Secretary of State after that of Hillary Clinton in 2012.

Following a bilateral strategic dialogue meeting in Washington last month, Pompeo commended the leadership of King Mohammed VI and urged a closer cooperation to combat extremism in the region as well as step up economic cooperation.

It was also a chance to highlight Morocco’s potential as a gateway for investments in Africa.

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