Since 1999, Presidents Clinton, Bush, and Obama have supported a compromise formula based on autonomy for the Western Sahara under Moroccan sovereignty, with the details to be negotiated between Morocco, the Polisario Front, and the Polisario’s Algerian backers.
Since 2007, when Morocco unveiled its compromise autonomy plan, the plan has been widely supported in Washington and deemed, “serious, realistic, and credible,” by officials in the Administration. http://www.state.gov/secretary/20092013clinton/rm/2011/03/158895.htm
In a Joint Statement issued on November 22, 2013 following a meeting between President Obama and King Mohammed VI, the US reiterated that Morocco’s autonomy plan is “serious, realistic, and credible.” The two leaders also affirmed, “their shared commitment to the improvement of the lives of the people of the Western Sahara and agreed to work together to continue to protect and promote human rights in the territory.” http://www.whitehouse.gov/the‐press‐office/2013/11/22/joint‐statement‐united‐states‐america‐and‐kingdom‐morocco .
On January 17, 2014, President Obama signed into law the FY2014 Appropriations Bill that explicitly directed that existing development assistance to Morocco “should also be available for assistance for the territory of the Western Sahara.” The law, P.L. 113‐76, approved by Congress and signed by the President as part of the FY2014 ppropriations Bill, should bolster Morocco’s efforts to improve social and economic conditions in the Southern Provinces.
The law also requires that the State Department (in consultation with USAID) submit a report describing how aid will support development and democratic reform in the country, and also detailing US efforts to “resolve the longstanding dispute over the Western Sahara, based on autonomy under Moroccan sovereignty.” This report could help advance positive efforts towards what US officials have called “the only feasible solution” for resolving the Western Sahara, and hopefully will signal more active support and renewed determination on the part of the United States for resolving this issue based on the “serious, realistic, and credible” compromise put forward by Morocco. http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi‐bin/cpquery/T?&report=hr185&dbname=113& http://www.securitycouncilreport.org/atf/cf/%7B65BFCF9B‐6D27‐4E9C‐8CD3‐
In December 2011, Congress reiterated the urgency of putting tangible actions behind US policy supporting Moroccan autonomy in the Western Sahara by inserting such language in the 2012 Omnibus Spending Report. The language, which states that US program assistance to Morocco may be used in “all regions and territories administered by Morocco,” authorizes the extension of US economic and social development assistance to the Western Sahara as a US Policy on the Western Sahara means of resolving the conflict. It further notes that Congress “remains concerned with resolving the dispute over the Western Sahara” that for decades has been an obstacle to cooperation, stability, and security in the region, and urges the State Department “to prioritize a negotiated settlement” to the dispute based on autonomy under Moroccan
sovereignty. Speaking in the Congressional Record, then‐House Foreign Affairs Committee Chair Ileana Ros‐Lehtinen (R‐FL) underscored the urgency of the matter, noting that “the US must continue to seek a fair, just, and enduring solution to the Western Sahara in order to promote regional integration and protect US security interests in the region.” http://moroccoonthemove.com/2011/12/23/congress‐president‐approve‐extending‐us‐aid‐for‐morocco‐reforms‐to‐w‐
In March 2010, 54 members of the United States Senate affirmed their support for Morocco’s autonomy plan in a letter addressed to then‐Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Out of concern for growing instability in North Africa, the letter urged Secretary Clinton to “make the resolution of the Western Sahara stalemate a U.S. foreign policy priority for North Africa,” and called for “more sustained American attention to one of the region's most pressing political issues.” The letter voiced strong support for the US policy backing a solution to the conflict based on “broad autonomy for Western Sahara under Moroccan sovereignty” and called the Moroccan compromise autonomy proposal “serious and credible.” The letter noted that 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.” http://www.moroccanamericanpolicy.org/SenateLetter.pdf
On the eve of the April 2009 MINURSO renewal, 233 members of the United States House of Representatives sent a letter to President Obama reaffirming their support for Morocco’s Autonomy Proposal. The letter called for strong US backing for Morocco’s compromise solution to end the 30‐year Western Sahara conflict, which would clear a path for greater regional cooperation to meet growing security and economic challenges. http://www.moroccanamericanpolicy.org/CongressionalLetter.pdf
The 2009 letter from the House of Representatives built on another letter from 2007 signed by 173 Members of the House (including the bipartisan House Leadership, Chairman Tom Lantos and Ranking Member Ros‐Lehtinen) reiterating Congressional support for the Moroccan plan, and a letter from Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and other important former policy makers. http://www.moroccanamericanpolicy.com/documents/MACP_Press_Release_06070...
During her remarks at the Opening Plenary of the US‐Morocco Strategic Dialogue in September 2012, then‐Secretary Clinton praised Morocco as a leader and model in the region and reaffirmed Morocco’s autonomy initiative to resolve the Western Sahara conflict as “serious, realistic, and credible.” Reiterating that US policy has remained constant, Clinton underscored the continuity of US policy on the supporting a solution for Western Sahara based on autonomy under Moroccan sovereignty. http://www.state.gov/secretary/20092013clinton/rm/2012/09/197711.htm
On March 23, 2011, at a joint press briefing with then‐Moroccan Foreign Minister Taieb Fassi Fihri, Secretary Clinton reiterated US policy on the Western Sahara, stating that the Moroccan autonomy plan is, “serious, realistic, and credible [and] a potential approach to satisfy the aspirations of the people in Western Sahara to run their own affairs in peace and dignity.”
During a trip to Morocco on November 3, 2009, Secretary Clinton confirmed US policy on the Western Sahara ‐ that autonomy under Moroccan sovereignty is the only realistic solution for ending the more than 30‐year dispute, noting during her remarks with then‐Moroccan Foreign Minister Taieb Fassi Faihri, “It is important for me to reaffirm, here in Morocco, that there has been no change in our policy.” In a subsequent interview, Secretary Clinton continued, “It is a plan, as you know, that was started under the Clinton Administration. It was reaffirmed under the Bush Administration and remains the policy of the United States under the Obama Administration.” http://www.state.gov/secretary/20092013clinton/rm/2009a/11/131354.htm
In June 2008, then‐White House Press Secretary Dana Perino elucidated this policy. She noted, “Yes, the President sent a letter to King Mohammed. It reiterated the U.S. position, first announced in the UN Security Council, that autonomy under Moroccan sovereignty is the only feasible solution for the Western Sahara dispute and our support for substantive negotiations on this matter within the U.N.‐led framework.”
Perino was referring to an April 2008 decision by UN Security Council members to unanimously opt for “realism” rather than prolonging the stalemate. The US played a significant role in this sea change, noting in its statement issued by then‐Deputy Permanent US Representative to the United Nations Alejandro Wolff after the UN Security Council vote that, “For our part, we agree with (UN Secretary General’s Personal Envoy) Mr. Van Walsum’s assessment that an independent Sahrawi state is not a realistic option for resolving the conflict and that genuine autonomy under Moroccan sovereignty is the only feasible solution.
In our view, the focus of future negotiation rounds should therefore be on designing a mutually acceptable autonomy regime that is consistent with the aspirations of the people of the Western Sahara.” http://www.securitycouncilreport.org/atf/cf/%7B65BFCF9B‐6D27‐4E9C‐8CD3‐
Peter Van Walsum was the UN Secretary General’s Special Envoy and the UN mediator for the first four rounds of negotiations. In his assessment, he called for compromise and realism in on‐going negotiations and concluded that “an independent Western Sahara is not an attainable goal.” He called the four rounds of talks a failure and urged the Security Council to pursue the only realistic compromise political solution to the conflict: autonomy under Moroccan sovereignty. http://www.reuters.com/article/pressRelease/idUS246402+28‐Aug‐2008+PRN20080828