On Saturday, the United States adopted a new official Morocco map that encompasses the disputed Western Sahara territory.
In a statement seen by AFP news agency, US ambassador to Morocco’s kingdom, Ambassador David Fischer, terms the map as a tangible depiction of President Trump’s recognition of “Morocco’s sovereignty over Western Sahara.”
The ambassador signed the map to be presented to Morocco’s King Mohammed VI at a ceremony in Rabat’s US embassy.
Western Sahara Dispute
Following Madrid Accords, Spain relinquished control of the Spanish Sahara to Morocco and Mauritania. Immediately, the Western Sahara war erupted between the Polisario Front and Morocco from 1975 to 1991.
Polisario Front desired the formation of an independent Sahrawi state in the territory and was backed by Algeria and Libya. In 1979, Mauritania withdrew from the disputed territory.
Later on, in 1991, Polisario Front and Morroco made a cease-fire agreement. The more than a decade of war resulted in about 35,000 casualties and displaced close to 80,000 persons.
The struggle for the Western Sahara territory continued in 1999 with the first Sahrawi Intifada (Uprising), which lasted up to 2005.
In May 2005, the second Sahrawi Intifada broke out. Demonstrations and riots characterized the uprising. A series of protests and riots have since been recorded to date.
The Polisario Front and Moroccan government continue to disagree over the territory. The Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR), proclaimed by the Polisario leaders in 1976, controls only 20 percent of the territory despite being a member of the African Union.
Western Sahara, home to about 500,000 people, is listed as a non-self-governing territory by the United Nations, the African Union, the International Court of Justice, and the European Union.
The reason for the “new official map.”
On Thursday, Morocco became the fourth Arab country this year to agree to normalize relations with Israel. Other states include Sudan, Bahrain, and the United Arab Emirates.
Consequently, President Trump supported Morocco’s contest of sovereignty over the Western Sahara territory. This is a dream come true for the Moroccan government.
Equally important, the map means that Western Sahara’s rich Atlantic fisheries and phosphate deposits now belong to Morocco.
Disagreement over the new map
On Saturday, Algeria’s prime minister -a major foreign supporter of the Polisario Front- claimed that the move was aimed to destabilize his country. Prime Minister Abdelaziz Djerad termed the move as “a desire by the Zionist entity [Israel]” to come close to Algeria.
Similarly, Polisario Front condemned President Donald Trump for “giving Morocco something that does not belong” to them. The rebellion promised to fight on until the point when Morocco will withdraw her troops from Western Sahara.
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