REG 201215 BAHRAIN morocco-1608022414292
Bahraini Foreign Minister Abdullatif Al Zayani and his Moroccan counterpart Nasser Bourita open a Bahraini consulate in the city of Laayoune. Image Credit: Bahraini News Agency

Cairo: Bahrain has opened a consulate in the Moroccan city of Laayoune in the Western Sahara, in a step stressing links between the two Arab countries.

The consulate was opened by Bahraini Foreign Minister Abdullatif Bin Rashid Al Zayani and his Moroccan counterpart Nasser Bourita at a ceremony in Laayoune on Monday.

Bahrain’s official news agency BNA quoted Al Zayani as expressing his country’s keenness to underline its support for Morocco to defend its sovereignty and territorial integrity. “The opening of a Bahraini consulate in the Moroccan city of Laayoune on a supreme order from King Hamad Bin Isa embodies solidarity of the Kingdom of Bahrain with brotherly Morocco to emphasise its sovereignty and the unity of Moroccan territory,” he added.

Last month, King Hamad announced the decision to open the consulate.

In October, the UAE became the first Arab country to announce its decision to open a consulate in Western Sahara.

Earlier this month, US President Donald Trump recognised Morocco’s sovereignty over Western Sahara.

The Moroccan army conducted in October an operation in the Guerguerat buffer zone obstructed by the Polisario Front militia that claims independence of the Sahara.

The act sought to secure a major route linking Morocco to neighbouring Mauritania. The vital crossing is now fully secured for people’s and goods traffic.

Morocco regained control of the Western Sahara from the Spanish colonialists in 1975. A year later, the Polisario Front emerged and pushed for dominating the phosphate-rich territory. The rebel movement took up arms against Morocco until 1991 when both sides signed a ceasefire.