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Obama administration steps into Western Sahara minefield

The agency is close to awarding a $1 million grant for the Moroccan-controlled Western Sahara.
U.S. Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL) speaks at a news conference in Miami, Florida, August 12, 2015. U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) is seen on the right. Ros-Lehtinen called the opening of a U.S. embassy in Cuba a "diplomatic charade rewarding the tyrannical Castro regime.", local media reported. REUTERS/Joe Skipper - RTX1O2SY
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The State Department is expected to soon approve a $1 million program for a disputed North African region in a compromise that could yet anger all those involved.

The agency is gearing up to approve the grant for the Moroccan-controlled Western Sahara under pressure from Rabat’s friends in Congress. In a twist, however, the program is restricted to boosting civil society rather than promoting the kind of economic development long sought by Morocco.

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