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After Israel deal, US adopts map of Morocco that includes Western Sahara

American ambassador says map ‘is a tangible representation of President Trump’s bold proclamation’ to recognize Moroccan rule over disputed territory

David Fischer, the US ambassador to Morocco, stands before a new US State Department map of Morocco recognizing the internationally-disputed territory of the Western Sahara (bearing a signature by Fischer) as a part of the North African kingdom, in the Moroccan capital Rabat on December 12, 2020. (AFP)
David Fischer, the US ambassador to Morocco, stands before a new US State Department map of Morocco recognizing the internationally-disputed territory of the Western Sahara (bearing a signature by Fischer) as a part of the North African kingdom, in the Moroccan capital Rabat on December 12, 2020. (AFP)

RABAT, Morocco — The United States adopted Saturday a “new official” map of Morocco that includes the disputed territory of Western Sahara, the ambassador to Rabat said.

“This map is a tangible representation of President Trump’s bold proclamation two days ago — recognizing Morocco’s sovereignty over Western Sahara,” US Ambassador David Fischer said, according to a statement seen by AFP.

He then signed the “new official US government map of the kingdom of Morocco” at a ceremony at the US embassy in the capital Rabat.

The map will be presented to Morocco’s King Mohammed VI, he added.

This picture taken on December 12, 2020, shows US and Moroccan flags next to a new US State Department map of Morocco recognizing the internationally-disputed territory of the Western Sahara as a part of the North African kingdom, in the Moroccan capital Rabat on December 12, 2020. (AFP)

Western Sahara is a disputed and divided former Spanish colony, mostly under Morocco’s control, where tensions with the pro-independence Polisario Front have simmered since the 1970s.

Morocco on Thursday became the fourth Arab state this year, after the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Sudan, to announce it had agreed to normalize relations with Israel.

US President Donald Trump in turn fulfilled a decades-old goal of Morocco by backing its contested sovereignty in Western Sahara.

Pro-independence Polisario Front rebel soldiers are seen during a military parade in the Western Sahara village of Tifariti, February 27, 2011 to celebrate the 35th anniversary of the Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic. (AP Photo/Arturo Rodriguez)

The Polisario condemned “in the strongest terms the fact that outgoing American President Donald Trump attributes to Morocco something which does not belong” to the country, namely sovereignty over Western Sahara.

The movement dismissed the announcement and vowed to fight on until Moroccan forces withdraw from all of Western Sahara.

The prime minister of Algeria — Morocco’s neighbor and regional rival, and the key foreign backer of the Polisario Front — on Saturday criticized “foreign maneuvers” that he said aimed to “destabilize Algeria.”

“There is now a desire by the Zionist entity to come closer to our borders,” Prime Minister Abdelaziz Djerad said, in reference to Israel.

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