Middle East Institute, by Edward M. Gabriel (Washington, DC, July 6, 2012) — Bernard Miyet [in "Autonomy: The Optimal Solution," May 21] rightly points out that it has always been the goal of Morocco to gain the recognition of the international community of what it has maintained was its historically legitimate assertion of sovereignty over the Western Sahara. He is also correct that the UN effort to conduct a referendum on either the full integration of the territory into Morocco or its independence as a new state in the Sahel had utterly failed by late 1998.
His analysis of the prospects that any such “winner take all” solution might lead to greater tensions, or worse in this already volatile region, was one of the reasons why the US State Department changed US policy on this question in early 1999, during the second Clinton Administration. This new policy continued during the Bush Administration and is one that Secretary Clinton has stated publicly remains unchanged under the Obama Administration.
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Ambassador Edward Gabriel, former U.S. Ambassador to Morocco, is currently CEO of the Gabriel Co., LLC, and his clients include the Government of Morocco and the Moroccan American Center.