dpa/GNA – The United States government has started the process of setting up a consulate in the disputed Western Sahara region.
“Pleased to announce the beginning of the process to establish a U.S. consulate in Western Sahara, and the inauguration of a virtual presence post effective immediately!” US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo wrote on Twitter Thursday.
The US government recently recognized Morocco’s sovereignty over North Africa’s disputed Western Sahara territory – reversing decades of US policy – as part of a US-brokered agreement between Morocco and Israel to normalize their diplomatic relations.
Morocco took over Western Sahara in 1975 after Spain withdrew from the region and claims the phosphate-rich area as part of its territory. The Algeria-backed Polisario Front movement seeks the region’s independence.
Most Arab countries have vowed to never recognize Israel until a peace deal is struck with the Palestinians, however, the recent normalization agreements, which began with the UAE in the summer, have shifted dynamics in the region.