US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken reaffirms support for the Moroccan Autonomy Initiative for the Sahara

US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken reaffirms support for the Moroccan Autonomy Initiative for the Sahara


Following a tour of the Middle East and North Africa, the US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken arrived in Morocco where he met with Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita and reaffirmed the strength of the bilateral relations which are based on a solid, ambitious, and multi-faceted partnership.

Speaking at a joint press conference Foreign Minister Bourita stressed furthermore that “relations between the two countries are also based on the personal relationship between HM the King and the U.S. President, Joe Biden, since their meeting in 2016 in Marrakech.”

Referring to some aspects of this outstanding partnership between the two countries, Minister Bourita mentioned the international coalition against Daesh and the joint efforts to fight terrorism and extremism, the African Lion joint military maneuvers scheduled for next June, and the organization of the African-American Economic Forum scheduled in July in Marrakech, denoting the richness and diversity of this partnership.

Minister Bourita further noted that relations between Morocco and the United States transcend the bilateral framework to encompass the Middle East and Africa as well as other regions in the world “the Morocco-U.S. partnership is based on common values and interests as well as a convergent vision on a set of international and regional issues. Minister Bourita said, on this occasion, that the talks with Blinken focused on the Morocco-U.S. partnership in Africa in the face of potential challenges and the exploitation of immense opportunities offered in the economic, trade, climate, infrastructure, health, and security areas, ensuring that the African continent is a space conducive to bilateral cooperation.

Multiple mechanisms are made available to this strategic partnership to gain strengths, in size and efficiency. This includes the strategic dialogue initiated two weeks ago as well as the dialogue on human rights, in addition to the free trade agreement, the only instrument of its kind between an African country and the United States, which has boosted bilateral economic relations.

In the same line, FM Bourita welcomed the presence of the United States as a party in the tripartite agreement signed in December 2020 before His Majesty the King, which sealed the resumption of relations between Morocco and Israel, noting the positive results of this agreement called to strengthen further in support of concrete and promising projects for the peoples of the region, particularly Morocco's and Israel's.

The Minister recalled that the U.S. position on the Moroccan autonomy initiative in the Sahara has been constant for several U.S. administrations. Minister Bourita added that the Moroccan autonomy plan is the only solution supported by the United States of America and several other countries such as Spain recently, Germany, and other Arab and African states. 

He further concluded that it is essential “at this stage to move to efforts oriented towards supporting the autonomy initiative under Moroccan sovereignty as a solution to the artificial dispute over the Sahara”.

From his end, the Secretary of State recalled during an exclusive interview with MEDI1 TV, Khadija Ihsan that “Morocco is first and foremost an essential partnership for us, and it has existed for a long time. It is of the utmost importance to us because we obviously act on various issues bilaterally. We act together at the regional level where Morocco’s voice and diplomacy have a very significant impact”.

At the regional level, the U.S. Secretary of State cited the very important impact of the Kingdom's diplomacy in managing the situation in the Sahel and the Libyan crisis, describing it as "essential to" Washington's partnership with Morocco.

For the American official, Morocco also plays a leading role in the management of several issues at the global level, particularly in the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic and the issue of climate change.

“Morocco has been very successful in the vaccination campaign” against the Covid-19 pandemic, Blinken noted, adding that the United States and the Kingdom are working together in the fight against the pandemic and are looking at what they can achieve across the world, including in Africa.

Addressing the issue of climate, he noted that the Kingdom has made major strides in managing the climate crisis, adding that the Morocco-US partnership “not only acts in the region but more and more at the global level”.

Referring to the Negev Summit, which brought together the foreign ministers of Morocco, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, the United States, and Israel, the Secretary of State emphasized that the summit reflects a common desire to jointly produce opportunities for the people of each country by creating links between students and citizens, and by focusing on issues that impact daily life such as investment, infrastructure, climate, and global health.

This summit, he added, also illustrates the common will to work on security issues without setting aside the future of the Palestinian people, emphasizing the need to establish a state for the Palestinians and to invest in their future. 

The US high official stressed during this timely visit that “the autonomy initiative proposed by Morocco to end the conflict over the Sahara is an approach that meets the needs and aspirations of the Sahara population”. 

He further emphasized that the US “find Morocco's autonomy plan to be a credible, serious, and realistic.” thus confirming the longstanding position of previous and different US administrations.

The American official expressed his country's support for the personal envoy of the UN Secretary-General, Staffan de Mistura, in the conduct of the political process on the Sahara issue, under the auspices of the United Nations.“The special envoy of the United Nations Secretary-General Staffan de Mistura is conducting very important work, and we support him. We discussed this issue today with my colleague and friend Nasser Bourita. This is something that we will be following up on in the coming weeks,” said the U.S. Secretary of State.