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NATO map shows ‘undivided’ Morocco including Western Sahara

January 4, 2021 at 1:44 pm

This picture taken on December 12, 2020 shows (L to R) US and Moroccan flags next to a US State Department-authorised map of Morocco recognising the internationally-disputed territory of the Western Sahara [AFP via Getty Images]

The official website of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) has used a map which shows Morocco included with the Western Sahara region.

The publication of the “undivided” map of Morocco was part of a press release regarding the military alliance’s Defence Education Enhancement Program (DEEP), with the kingdom making up one of 16 “Partner Nations”.

The move appears to come a day after US Ambassador to Morocco David Fischer unveiled his country’s new official map of Morocco which includes the contested region and follows an earlier decision by the administration of out-going US President Donald Trump in recognising Morocco’s territorial claims and supporting its “Autonomy Plan” over Western Sahara in exchange for Rabat normalising relations with Israel.

READ: US to establish consulate in Western Sahara, Morocco

Moroccan news outlet described the development as “a new slap in the face for the enemies of the territorial integrity of the Kingdom” with the publication of NATO’S map confirming “the historical evidence of the Kingdom’s sovereignty over its Saharan provinces”.

According to the UN’s official map, the Western Sahara is depicted as a disputed territory. A former Spanish colony, Western Sahara was annexed by Morocco and Mauritania in 1975. A year later the Polisario Front proclaimed the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic, with a government in exile based in Algeria. Although Mauritania withdrew its forces in 1979, Morocco refused to do the same and maintained that the Western Sahara forms an integral part of its kingdom.

Last week the Executive Director of Human Rights Watch (HRW) Kenneth Roth stated that Morocco implements the same methods as those used by the Israeli occupation forces against the Palestinians, in an attempt to consolidate its control of the Western Sahara. Days earlier, Moroccan authorities expressed anger over HRW’s position on the region which was described as promoting “political discourse hostile to the territorial integrity of the Kingdom of Morocco”.

READ: Morocco accuses Algeria of ‘spreading rumours’ on Western Sahara