Jordan opens consulate in Laayoune

Jordan opened a consulate in Morocco’s Sahara region on Thursday in support for Rabat’s sovereignty over the region.

Official media said Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Al Safadi and Nasser Bourita, his Moroccan counterpart, inaugurated the embassy in Laayoune.

Footage tweeted by the Moroccan foreign ministry showed the two men cutting a ribbon in the colours of the Moroccan flag outside the consulate.

The move follows the UAE and Bahrain opening consulates in Laayoune late last year.

Jordan’s King Abdullah and King Mohamed of Morocco have close ties.

Both monarchs are in their late 50s and took the throne in 1999.

Morocco administers about 80 per cent of the 266,000 square kilometre desert region. The self-declared Sahrawi Arab Republic, which is supported by Algeria, holds the rest of the area.

The breakaway state is not recognised by the United Nations.

A number of Arab and African states unequivocally support Morocco’s claim to the region.

The Donald Trump administration backed Morocco’s claim in the final months of the former US president’s term.

In December, the American ambassador to Rabat announced that the United States, in support of Morocco, had adopted a new official map of the country that included the Sahara.

In January, senior foreign US policy official David Schenker visited the Sahara and met with its Morocco-appointed governor. Mr Schenker has since left his post and the administration of President Joe Biden has yet to articulate a position on the matter.

Published: March 5, 2021 09:27 AM

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