Morocco / by Lewis McKinnon

The Sahrawi Prime Minister Abdelkader Taleb Omar called on the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) to pressure Morocco into allowing staff from the United Nation’s (UN) mission to the Western Sahara (MINURSO) to resume their work. A Morocco-Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) summit held on 20 April lent its support to Morocco’s position on the Western Sahara. Morocco was elected as Chair of the Sahara-Sahel Observatory (SSO) on 28 April. The largest joint United States (US) armed forces exercise in Africa, African Lion, began on 19 April in Agadir. The Deputy Secretary-General of the Polisario Front separatist group, Bashar Mustafa Assiyad, warned that the failure of the UN to organise a referendum on independence for the Sahrawi people could lead to a renewed civil war. Moroccan security services dismantled an Islamic State (IS) cell in the city of Nador on 29 April. The UNSC backed a resolution on 29 April to extend the mandate of MINURSO for another year. Car manufacturer Renault announced that it would invest $1.04 billion to expand production of its plants in Tangier and Casablanca. Ratings agency Standard and Poors (S&P) announced on 8 April that it has maintained Morocco’s economic outlook as stable. A World Bank report estimated that $6.4 billion of remittances were sent to Morocco in 2015 by its citizens overseas.