Jordan opens consulate in Laayoune in support for Morocco’s sovereignty
RABAT – Jordan will open a consulate in the Western Sahara, Morocco said on Thursday, in a show of support for Rabat after the disputed territory’s Polisario movement declared the three decades-old truce with the kingdom over.
The consulate will be in Laayoune, the largest city in Western Sahara, and the decision to open it came after a phone call between Moroccan King Mohammed VI and Jordanian King Abdullah II.
The Moroccan king welcomed the decision, expressing his appreciation for Jordan’s recognition of Moroccan sovereignty over Western Sahara.
The Jordanian king reaffirmed his country’s “steadfast support for Morocco’s territorial integrity and the ongoing efforts to reach a political solution to the Western Sahara conflict.”
Arab Gulf countries have expressed support for Morocco after its army intervened on Friday in a UN-monitored area to open a road that was blocked by armed Polisario fighters for three weeks.
The Jordanian monarch welcomed “the reopening of the passage to the safe movement of people and goods between the Kingdom of Morocco and Sub-Saharan Africa,” the Royal Palace said in a statement.
King Abdullah II also stressed “Jordan’s full support for Morocco’s decision to secure the Guerguerat border crossing” after a three-week blockade by the Polisario.
Following the entry of the Moroccan army into the UN-monitored buffer strip, the Polisario front said it has quit the UN-brokered ceasefire and declared war.
Algeria, which backs the Polisario, was the only Arab state that has condemned Morocco’s actions in the Western Sahara passage.
The Polisario Front announced it had quit the UN-brokered ceasefire and declared war against Morocco.
Morocco’s king, however, warned that his country “remains firmly determined to react, with the greatest severity, and in self-defence, against any threat to its security.”
Speaking on Monday after a telephone call with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, the king also said Rabat remained committed to the ceasefire but would react “severely” to thwart any threats.
Jordan will become the second non-African Arab country after the United Arab Emirates to open a consulate in Laayoune.
Some 16 African states have already opened consulates in the disputed territory as Rabat reaps more support for its position over the Western Sahara conflict since it joined the African Union in 2017.
Morocco has held the vast desert region since Spain quit in 1975 and regards it as an integral part of its own land.
Rabat has said the most it can offer as a political solution to the dispute is autonomy. The Polisario and its ally Algeria reject this and say they want a referendum, with independence for Western Sahara as one of the options.