December 10, 2020
U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) made the following statement on Western Sahara:
“ I think that all countries should recognize Israel, and applaud the president’s unprecedented efforts to foster recognition between Israel and Arab nations through the Abraham Accords.
“Today’s White House announcement alleging Morocco’s sovereignty over Western Sahara is shocking and deeply disappointing. I am saddened that the rights of the Western Saharan people have been traded away.
“In 1966, as West Africa was being decolonized, the UN General Assembly agreed that a referendum on self-determination should be held for the benefit of the Sahrawi people. Since that time, the international community has had one clear, defined policy: Western Sahara deserves a referendum of self-determination to determine its own future. The United States has supported this policy for decades and has worked to accomplish a referendum of self-determination. Until today, this Administration had continued our long history, one that has remained consistent across administrations. We’re not alone in this position: the African Union, the United Nations, the International Court of Justice and the European Union have all agreed – the Sahrawi people have the right to decide their own future. The president has been poorly advised by his team; he could have made this deal without trading the rights of a voiceless people.
“During my most recent visit to the Sahrawi refugee camps, I visited with the children that lived there. They were joyous, happy, ordinary children who didn’t know yet that they were part of a frozen, forgotten conflict where their hopes and freedoms were dying a cruel death. I’m thinking about them and all the Sahrawians today. I won’t stop fighting for them and I won’t let the world forget them. Today’s announcement does not change the United Nations or EU positions, nor the charter of the African Union, nor the opinion of the ICJ – a referendum must still happen. I urge these organizations to stand strong to support Western Sahara’s right to self-determination and am confident the U.S. will be able to return to the policy we’ve held since 1966.”