Thursday, March 18, 2010

Western Sahara: Bipartisan support for US Policy for resolving conflict

A bipartisan majority of Members of the US Senate -- led by Sen. Diane Feinstein (D-CA) and Sen. Kit Bond (R-MO), the Chair and Ranking Member of the Senate Intelligence Committee -- sent a letter to Sec. of State Hillary Rodham Clinton supporting US policy on Western Sahara, expressing concern over growing regional instability and the rising threat from terrorists in North Africa. The lawmakers urged "more sustained American attention to resolve one of the region's most pressing political issues, the Western Sahara" to "remove the major obstacle to stability in the region."

Today's US Senate letter voices strong support for the US policy backing a solution to the conflict based on "broad autonomy for Western Sahara under Moroccan sovereignty" and calls the Moroccan compromise autonomy proposal "serious and credible." The letter notes it has been the "bipartisan US policy" of three successive Administrations (Clinton, Bush, and Obama) "to support a resolution of this conflict based on this formula." In April 2009, 233 members of the US House of Representatives -- a bipartisan majority -- sent a letter to President Obama urging support for Morocco's compromise autonomy plan, expressing the concern that the ongoing Western Sahara conflict was thwarting efforts to combat increased terrorism and regional instability.

Full text of the Senate letter and list of signers

Among the Senate letter's signers are: the Chairmen and Ranking Members of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Appropriations committee, Finance Committee, and Committee on Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs, and Senate Democratic Policy Committee Chair Sen. Byron Dorgan, (D-ND), and Assistant Minority Leader Sen. John Kyl, (R-AZ).

The Senate letter calls attention to a report, "Why the Maghreb Matters," issued March 31, 2009 by a panel including former Sec. of State Madeleine Albright, former Amb. Stuart Eizenstat, and former NATO Supreme Allied Commander Gen. Wesley Clark, arguing "the US must work diligently with its friends to resolve the stalemate over the Western Sahara" to protect US security interests and promote regional peace and prosperity. In January a report by the International Center for Terrorism Studies, Potomac Institute for Policy Studies, detailed how attacks by al-Qaeda and other terrorist groups in North Africa have increased more than 550% since 9/11.

Source: Moroccan American Center for Policy

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