“Our position with regard to the Sahara, as expressed by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, has not changed,” Kaplan told the press following a meeting with State minister Mohamed El Yazghi.
Clinton said at the 6th Forum for the Future, held November 2-3 in Marrakech, that there is “no change” in the position of the United States on Morocco’s initiative to grant autonomy to the Sahara, an initiative that Washington described on several occasions as “serious” and “credible.”
Regarding bilateral relations, the U.S. diplomat hailed the close friendly ties between the two countries.
The Moroccan-American economic partnership was strengthened especially after the entry into force, on January 1, 2006, of the free trade agreement (FTA), Kaplan said, adding that the two countries are working to deepen their trade under the Millennium Challenge Account (MCA), which earmarked $ 700 million for development projects in Morocco.
The U.S. diplomat also commended the “humanitarian action” taken by the Kingdom of Morocco, which allowed for the return of Aminatou Haidar to the North African country.
On his part, El Yazghi stressed that the United States, being a member of the Security Council, “should shoulder its responsibility by showing that Morocco has made a tremendous and bold effort in proposing autonomy.”
The State minister urged the Security Council to shoulder its responsibility and underline in its April meeting that the Moroccan proposal to grant autonomy to the southern provinces is “a platform for negotiations” to put an end to this artificial conflict.
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