The outgoing US president, Donald Trump, awarded King Mohammed VI of Morocco the distinction of the Legion of Merit, in the rank of Commander-in-Chief, at a private ceremony, according to an official statement issued by the US White House Press Secretary.
The award, which is generally given to heads of state or government, recognises the efforts King Mohammed VI has made over the past two decades to promote "the deep and lasting partnership between the Kingdom of Morocco and the United States in all fields". The prize also values the monarch's personal vision and drive, including his decision to establish diplomatic ties with the state of Israel, which have helped to make positive progress in normalising the situation in the Middle East and North Africa and have marked the beginning of a new phase of security and prosperity for many countries.
The prize was presented to Morocco's ambassador to the United States, Princess Lalla Joumala, cousin of the Alaouite sovereign, who accepted it on behalf of Mohammed VI himself. During the same ceremony, Lalla Joumala presented Donald Trump with the Order of Muhammadi, Morocco's highest award. The distinction was awarded to the outgoing US president in recognition of his work in restoring relations between Morocco and Israel. During the same ceremony, the Moroccan representative also granted recognition to Trump's chief adviser, Jared Kushner, and to the envoy for the Middle East, Avi Berkowitz, both of whom were involved in the bilateral contacts between the North African country and the American giant that led to the recognition by the US of Morocco's sovereignty over Western Sahara and the establishment of diplomatic ties between the North African nation and the Israeli state.
The United States firmly supports the autonomy plan for Western Sahara within Moroccan sovereignty as the only realistic political solution for settling the Saharan question in accordance with the United Nations Security Council resolutions adopted since 2007. This was also made clear at the international virtual conference organised this past Friday by Morocco and the United States to support the proposal for autonomy for the region of Western Sahara within Morocco's sovereignty, at which the foreign minister of the Alaouite nation, Nasser Bourita, urged Europe to give Morocco greater support in the Saharan issue. The only European country that took part in the international conference to support Morocco's position was France, which is Morocco's traditional ally on the issue of Western Sahara and, thanks to its permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council, systematically manages to block any resolution that is contrary to or critical of Rabat.
The telematics conference brought together 40 countries, mainly from Africa, the Arab world, Central America and the Caribbean, which expressed one after another their support for Moroccan sovereignty over an autonomy for the Sahara, repeatedly described as "a serious, credible, realistic and lasting option", as well as "the only possible solution" to the conflict that has pitted Morocco against the Polisario Front in recent decades, which advocated holding a referendum on independence that practically nobody supports anymore on the world stage, as opposed to the proposal of the Moroccan kingdom that is widely defended on the international scene.