The U.S deputy Secretary of State for the Middle East, David Welch, said during a visit to Morocco that its suggestion of an independent Western Sahara opens a new possibility and reiterated washington’s “support” in the negotiations being made by the two parties.
The subject of an independent Western Sahara was discussed during his audience with King Mohammed VI of Morocco, in Marrakech last Monday, “ the Moroccan proposal which opens a new dimension is as a result of rounds of negotiations” He also said that it is a very “productive” approach, one that deserves to be “examined”, according to the government organisation MAP.
Morocco is proposing to accord the status of a largely autonomous country “under the soveriegnty of the Alaouite dynasty” to Western Sahara. The Polisario Front, an independentist movement supported by Algeria, refuses this sort of agreement and is calling for a referendum in Western Sahara, to determine its own future.
Mr. Welch confirmed that new ideas had been put forward and he hopes that the various negotiating parties will work together constructively and in good faith.
He, however, admitted that the negotiations are tough, given the complex nature of the subject matter. He maintained that heads of States in the Maghreb region will be informed of the United States’ point of view, “on what we think is the best way forward”.
Mr. Welch who is also expected in Algeria and Tunesia appealed for stronger and positive relations between Morocco and Algeria in what concerns the Western Sahara issue.
Western Sahara, a former spanish colony, has been under Morocco’s disputed control since 1975.