Saudi Arabia to Invest in Western Sahara Supports Moroccos Sovereignty

Rabat – Amid critical comments made by United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon during his recent trip to Algeria, Saudi Arabia said that it would remain steadfast in its support of Morocco with regards to the Western Sahara.The Saudi Ambassador to Morocco, Abdelaziz El Khouja said on Mar. 8 that his country is openly supporting the “territorial integrity of Morocco, and willing to invest in the Moroccan Sahara,” according to Yabiladi.In a press statement given on the sidelines of talks between a delegation of Saudi businessmen and Moroccan Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation Salaheddine Mezouar, the ambassador said that relations between Saudi Arabia and Morocco remain strong, stressing the importance of improving the economic relationship between the two countries. In this regard, the diplomat announced that a delegation of investors from his country will visit the main cities of the Western Sahara in the coming weeks to study the opportunities for investing there.“This is a strong message by which we express our support of the territorial integrity of Morocco and our commitment, with all our resources, to the development of these provinces,” said El Khouja.He added that “the efforts of Saudi Arabia in the support of economic development in Morocco contribute to the economic development of Saudi Arabia.”As part of its efforts to set up development projects in the southern provinces, Morocco expects its Gulf partners not only to express political support for its position on the Sahara issue but also to provide strong economic support for these projects.The Saudi ambassador’s announcement came after Ban Ki-moon’s comments during his recent visit to Algiers and the Tindouf camps in southwest Algeria as part of a tour of the region.During his trip, Ban Ki-moon referred to Morocco’s sovereignty over the Sahara as “occupation.” This is the first time a UN Secretary General used this term while discussing the conflict.On Tuesday, Morocco issued a communique in which it condemned the language used by the UN chief and accused him of departing from the neutrality required of his position.Morocco is one of Saudi Arabia’s closest allies. The North African kingdom is part of the Saudi-led Islamic Military Alliance, a coalition of 34 countries formed to fight terrorism. Morocco has also actively participated in operations led by Saudi Arabia against Houthi rebels in Yemen since March 2015.Edited by Kelsey Fish

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