UNE’s Anouar Majid discusses Western Sahara conflict and Moroccan sovereignty
Anouar Majid, Ph.D., vice president for Global Affairs and founding director of the Center for Global Humanities at the University of New England, recently spoke with UNE News regarding the U.S. government’s recognition of Morocco’s sovereignty over the Western Sahara.
The territory has been a point of conflict between Morocco and the Polisario Front, with support from Algeria, since the Green March of 1975. But, in a tweet on Dec. 10, President Donald Trump declared the territory should be recognized as Morocco’s.
“Morocco recognized the United States in 1777. It is thus fitting that we recognize their sovereignty over the Western Sahara,” the president’s tweet read.
Majid said Trump’s statement is a historic act that will open the way to international recognition of Morocco’s governance of the territory and improve international relations in Africa and beyond.
"This is certainly a historic day when common sense has finally prevailed," Majid told Libération. “Now that the United States has formally recognized the Moroccan character of the Sahara, it is easier for all the countries in the region, as well as for the other European powers, to do the same and move forward,” in ending the dispute and developing the region.
In November, Majid was twice featured on Moroccan news website MAP Express, where he discussed Moroccan King Mohammed VI’s efforts to invest in the Western Sahara.
The recovery of the Sahara was “the catalyst for a national strategy of governance and autonomous economic development,” Majid said to the outlet on Nov. 9, stressing that the determination of Mohammed VI to promote the maritime resources of the region, either in field of fisheries or in the dynamic transport sector, “can only give the Sahara region enormous impetus and transform it — like the city and the region of Tangier — into one of the main economic poles of the country.”
In a subsequent piece, Majid called the construction of an Atlantic port in Dakhla a “stroke of genius;” said the King’s promotion of autonomy in the Sahara is, “the only way that allows the inhabitants of the Sahara to manage their local affairs and to invest freely in their community;” and called new roads, schools, ports and airports that now connect the Sahara region with the rest of the country, “an integral part of the social and economic fabric of Morocco.”