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Lobbying 2016: Morocco tightens grip on disputed Sahara

US Secretary of State John Kerry and Moroccan Foreign Minister Salaheddine Mezouar (L) speak to the media prior to meetings at the Department of State in Washington, DC, February 18, 2016. / AFP / SAUL LOEB        (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)

Morocco has been pursuing an increasingly assertive US policy as it seeks to cement its control over its disputed southern half, with mixed results.

In March, Rabat defied Washington and the rest of the world when it ousted the UN mission tasked with resolving the decades-old conflict over the Western Sahara. Two months later, Moroccan officials upbraided US Ambassador Dwight Bush over an annual State Department report that accused the country of crushing Sahrawi independence activists.

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