Washington, United States:
The United States will open a “virtual” diplomatic post in front of a consulate in Western Sahara, the State Department said Thursday after recognizing Moroccan sovereignty over the disputed area earlier this month.
The announcement of the virtual presence follows the surprise statement by US President Donald Trump in early December supporting Morocco’s control of the desert area claimed by the independent Polisario Front rebels backed by Algeria.
The move was part of a larger agreement by Trump, under which Morocco became the youngest Arab state to recognize Israel.
Jared Kushner, son-in-law and adviser to the US President, took his place next to an Israeli delegation on the first direct flight between Israel and Morocco on Tuesday before signing a statement opening a US consulate in the Western Sahara port city of Dakhla.
“We are pleased to announce the start of the process to establish a US consulate in Western Sahara,” tweeted Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Thursday.
“We are now opening a virtual presence post for Western Sahara,” he added in a statement, stating that the post “will soon be followed by a fully functioning consulate.”
“This virtual presence post is managed by the US Embassy in Rabat,” with an emphasis on promoting economic and social development, Pompeo said without submitting a schedule to the consulate.
He added that the United States “will continue to support political negotiations to resolve the problems between Morocco and the Polisario”.
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