Blinken made the statement in a brief press conference, while welcoming visiting Moroccan Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita to the State Department Tuesday.
He said this visit provides an opportunity to talk about a number of issues in the region. “We’ll have an opportunity to talk about the very important normalization of relations between Morocco and Israel and the work that is being done there,” the US secretary of State said, alluding to the importance that the Americans grant to the normalization of relations between Rabat and Tel Aviv.
He also described Bourita’s visit to Washington as timely, in view of the latest developments of the Sahara issue.
“And it’s also, I think, a timely visit because we now have a new Special Envoy for the Secretary-General of the United Nations for the Western Sahara Staffan de Mistura, and I look forward to talking to the minister about his work and efforts there.”
The US government had previously expressed hope to see De Mistura’s appointment contribute to reviving the UN-led efforts toward finding a mutually acceptable political solution to the Sahara dispute.
In a statement following De Mistura’s appointment last October 6, Blinken said the US will support De Mistura in his mission to convene all the parties to the conflict – Algeria, Mauritania, Morocco, and the Polisario Front – around the same negotiating table after years of diplomatic stagnation.
Successive US administrations have expressed backing to the Morocco-proposed autonomy plan for the Sahara as a “credible” and “serious” solution to end the regional conflict and the Trump administration recognized Morocco’s sovereignty over the entire Sahara in December 2020 under a “Tripartite Joint Declaration between the United States, Morocco and Israel”.
Bourita also highlighted the very longstanding Moroccan-US partnership, pointing out that it is time to enrich this partnership more.
He also stressed the need to enrich the two countries’ strategic dialogue, and military cooperation, and how to defend their interests, and other matters around the world.
“The challenges we are facing, the global ones – climate change, extremism – but also in some regions in Libya and Africa give more relevance to this relation, and this is exactly the vision of His Majesty King Mohammed VI – to promote and to make this relation stronger and stronger,” Bourita said.
Blinken and Bourita have had the opportunity to talk and see each other on a number of occasions since January. The latest meeting between the two men dates back to June 28 in Rome, on the sidelines of the ministerial meeting of the international coalition against Daesh.
The Monday Blinken-Bourita meeting takes place on the eve of the visit to Morocco by Israeli Minister of Defense, Benny Gantz, and a few days before the visit of a large Moroccan delegation to Israel, as reported by the media.