The situation in Western Sahara turned even more grim on 11 December, when outgoing US president Donald Trump recognised Moroccan sovereignty over Western Sahara, illegally occupied by Morocco since 1975.
This was a major shift in official US policy, but the US has always unofficially supported the Moroccan occupation – as has the EU, which benefits from illegal fishing in Sahrawi waters.
On 10 January, two senior US officials (including the top US state department official for the region, David Schenker) took part in a ceremony in Dakhla which paved the way for a US consulate in the occupied zone.
There has continued to be gunfire between Moroccan security forces and militants from Polisario, the Sahrawi national liberation movement. (See PN 2648 – 2649.)
On 19 January, Polisario said it was willing to join UN talks, but it would not halt armed action. Spokesperson Sidi Ould Oukal said: ‘We have waited 30 years. Thirty years of broken promises, prevarication and untenable waiting.’
Meanwhile, a Norwegian financial services group has banned the Spanish subsidiary of Siemens Gamesa and two other green energy companies from assets it holds – because of their operations in Western Sahara.
Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy has a wind turbine factory in Hull.