“The abrupt decision by the previous (Trump) administration on December 11, 2020, to officially recognize the Kingdom of Morocco’s illegitimate claims of sovereignty over Western Sahara was short-sighted, undermined decades of consistent U.S. policy, and alienated a significant number of African nations,” wrote recently U.S. Senators Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Jim Inhofe (R-OK), and 25 other senators including Cory Booker (D-NJ). The Trump decision further tied Africans to the Palestine/Israel conflict and disregarded decisions made by the African Union (AU) and the United Nations.
In exchange for Morocco normalizing relations with Israel, on December 11, 2020, the United States recognized Morocco's claim over Western Sahara, also known as the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR). While the Trump administration was touting this agreement as an achievement, The AU has maintained that the fate of Western Sahara be decided by a referendum - - not by the United States.
Melvin Foote, the President of the Washington D.C. based Constituency for Africa (CFA), surmised, “Until Africa gets serious about the business of African unity, others will always seek to divide and fragment the continent . . .”
Ebba Kalondo, spokesperson of AU Commission chair Moussa Faki Mahamat, says the AU maintains its supports for the self-determination of Western Sahara through a free and fair referendum as decided by the UN Security Council. She tweeted, “"The position of the African Union remains unchanged, in conformity with relevant AU and United Nations resolutions."
Modou Joof, an award-winning Gambian journalist based in Banjul told Port Of Harlem, "This move is only fanning the flames of the decades long conflict between Morocco and the SADR. In order to stop Morocco's illegitimate occupation and continuous repression of the Saharawi, the United States should align with the African Union's position on recognizing the SADR's right to self-determination." Joof also said he believes that the same recognition should be accorded to Palestine.