Washington, DC (April 25)— Last week, eight former US Ambassadors to Morocco called on Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton to continue US support of Morocco’s ongoing, wide- ranging reforms to achieve “true democracy,” “enhancement of civil and human rights,” and to find real “solutions to social and economic issues, including corruption.” At this critical time for the region and the world, the former Ambassadors, from the Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Clinton and George W. Bush Administrations, echoed Sec. Clinton’s recent praise of His Majesty King Mohammed VI who “has long demonstrated his commitment to reform,” and emphasized that Morocco’s “democratic path […] will also benefit US policy.”
“While we encompass different political viewpoints […], we are all concerned, as you are, with the future of US-Moroccan relations at this particularly dramatic moment in the history of North Africa,” wrote the group in a letter to Sec. Clinton. “Your continued encouragement and our national leadership will be decisive on the issue of political and social reform not only in Morocco but in other parts of the Middle East and North Africa.”
The former ambassadors also called for a resolution to the Western Sahara conflict, which will “create another area of peace in a suffering world.” Their call echoes the current Obama Administration position that “Morocco’s autonomy plan is serious, realistic, and credible – a potential approach to satisfy the aspirations of the people in the Western Sahara to run their own affairs in peace and dignity.” The former ambassadors also join bipartisan majorities of both the US House and Senate who have declared that “[US] leadership can make a significant difference” and that “favoring autonomy for Western Sahara under Moroccan sovereignty is the only feasible solution.”
While current US policy supports autonomy under Moroccan sovereignty, as reaffirmed by Sec. Clinton on numerous occasions “[s]tarting with the Clinton Administration and continuing through the Bush Administration and up to the present in the Obama Administration,” it must be supported by concrete, unambiguous actions. Former Ambassador Michael Ussery, who has recently returned from a visit to Morocco and the Sahara said that “Lifting the restrictions on extending US aid and economic development programs to the Western Sahara, and permitting high-level US officials, including the current US Ambassador, to travel to the Sahara, would demonstrate US commitment to peacefully ending the Western Sahara conflict and promoting stability in the region.”
** For full text of the letter, please visit: [http://www.moroccanamericanpolicy.org/Frmr_Amb_Ltr_041911.pdf]
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