Skip to main content

US adopts 'new official' map of Morocco that includes Western Sahara

Washington's ambassador to Rabat says map 'recognises Morocco's sovereignty' over disputed territory after North African nation normalised relations with Israel
Supporters of Western Sahara's independence hold Western Saharan and Algerian flags during a demonstration in Bordeaux, France, on 12 December (AFP)

The United States on Saturday adopted a "new official" map of Morocco that included the disputed territory of Western Sahara, the US ambassador to Rabat said.

"This map is a tangible representation of President Trump's bold proclamation two days ago - recognising Morocco's sovereignty over Western Sahara," 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.

Israel and Morocco to normalise ties as US recognises Rabat's claim to Western Sahara
Read More »

The map will be presented to Morocco's King Mohammed VI, Fischer said.

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 normalise relations with Israel.

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

'Betrayal of Islam'

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

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

The prime minister of Algeria - Morocco's neighbour and regional rival, and the key foreign backer of the Polisario Front - on Saturday criticised "foreign manoeuvres" that he said aimed to "destabilise Algeria". 

'The deal between the triangle of America, Morocco and the Zionist regime was done in exchange for Morocco's betrayal of Islam [and] the Palestinian cause'

- Ali Akbar Velayati, adviser to Iran's Ayatollah Ali Khamenei

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

On Friday, a senior Iranian official condemned Morocco's normalisation of ties with Israel as a "betrayal of Islam".

Ali Akbar Velayati, an adviser to Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, warned that Morocco, as well as the other countries that signed normalisation deals with Iran's arch rival in 2020, would face "popular uprisings" in the near future.

"The deal between the triangle of America, Morocco and the Zionist regime was done in exchange for Morocco's betrayal of Islam [and] the Palestinian cause, selling Muslims' honour to international Zionism," Velayati said on his official website Friday.

Blasting all four countries that have normalised relations with Israel, Velayati said they will "witness popular uprisings in a not so distant future" as their "dependent, submissive and authoritarian" leaders are unmasked.

Rabat, which has close ties with Iran's regional rival Saudi Arabia, severed diplomatic relations with Tehran in 2018, accusing it of backing the Polisario, a charge Iran denied.

Middle East Eye delivers independent and unrivalled coverage and analysis of the Middle East, North Africa and beyond. To learn more about republishing this content and the associated fees, please fill out this form. More about MEE can be found here.