"Consistent with President Trump's proclamation on recognizing the sovereignty of the Kingdom of Morocco over the Sahara, the State Department announces that it has begun the process to establish a U.S. consulate in the region," said Pompeo in a statement.
"Effective immediately, we are inaugurating a virtual presence post," said the US top official, noting that this post, which will focus on promoting economic and social development, will be followed soon by a fully functioning consulate.
This virtual presence post will be managed by the U.S. Embassy in Rabat, he noted.
Pompeo said that "the United States looks forward to this increased engagement and we will continue to support political negotiations to resolve the issues between Morocco and the polisario within the framework of Morocco’s autonomy plan."
The decision to open a US consulate in Dakhla was announced on December 10 after a telephone conversation between HM King Mohammed VI and US President Donald Trump.
On this occasion, the American president announced the historic decision of the United States to recognize the full sovereignty of the Kingdom over its Sahara.