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Western Sahara: South Africa Finds US Move ‘Surprising’

Source : | 15 December 2020 |  News | 3796 views

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Rabat – South Africa’s Minister of International Relations Naledi Pandor has condemned the US move to recognize Morocco’s sovereignty over Western Sahara.News 24quotedthe South African official, describing the move as “illegal.â€â€œIt’s essentially the recognition of an illegality,†Pandor said on Monday.The official argued that the US move will not change the legal position of UN resolutions.The statements by the South African official came as no surprise, but observers questioned why Pretoria did not issue such a reaction to the US move immediately.On Thursday, Trump issued a presidential proclamation that recognized Morocco’s sovereignty overWestern Sahara.Pandor’s hostile remarks against Morocco’s territorial integrity align with Pretoria’s official position on the Western Sahara conflict.South Africa is among the countries that continue to oppose Morocco’s sovereignty over Western Sahara, backing Polisario’s “independence†and “self-determination†claims.South Africa regularly issues press releases to oppose Morocco’s recent diplomatic gains after several countries decided to open consulates in Laayoune and Dakhla, in the country’s southern provinces.The most recent openings came just a day ago, when Haiti and Bahrain opened consulates in the region.Haiti opened the consulate in Dakhla, while Bahrain opened a consulate in Laayoune.The US vowed to also open a consulate inDakhla.Morocco expressed satisfaction with the US decision to recognize Morocco’s sovereignty over Western Sahara, describing it as a “major development.â€Minister of Foreign Affairs Nasser Bourita said the decision is a decisive turning point.During a press conference after the opening of the Bahrain consulate on Monday, Bourita said the decision of the US is part of the “movement of the consecration of the Moroccan character of the Sahara on an international scale.â€He also lauded the US support for the Autonomy Plan.The US and Morocco also expressed vows to boost trade cooperation.American companies started to officialize the vows with recent announcements.On Monday, the Ministry of Industry signed an agreement with US automotive company Adient, which plans to set up a new production unit in Kenitra’s industrial zone.The project seeks to create over 1,000 jobs.

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