Stock Bahrain Manama skyline
Bahrain is to open a consulate in the Western Sahara becoming the latest country to take the step. Image Credit: Shutterstock

Cairo: Bahrain’s King Hamad Bin Isa has informed Moroccan King Mohammed VI of Bahrain’s decision to open a consulate in the Western Sahara, the Bahraini news agency BNA reported, becoming the latest country to take the step.

The consulate will open in the city of Laayoune, a Moroccan province in the Western Sahara. Foreign ministries of both Arab countries will coordinate on setting up the consulate, BNA said.

The Bahraini monarch announced the decision during a phone call he made Thursday to King Mohammed VI to whom he expressed Bahrain’s backing to Morocco in defending its sovereignty and territorial integrity in the Western Sahara area of Guerguerat, BNA added.

Earlier this month, the Moroccan army conducted 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.

'Back to normal'

The Bahraini king also hailed the orders made by his Moroccan counterpart to “bring the situation back to normal in the area of Guerguerat,” BNA said.

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

The UAE also voiced support for the Moroccan operation in Guerguerat.

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.

The rebel militia said this month it is no longer committed to the ceasefire after the Moroccan operation.