Rabat to weigh W Sahara autonomy

Moroccan King Mohammed VI has said he will consult with his country's political parties about autonomy for Western Sahara on the 30th anniversary of the territory's annexation by Rabat.

    Rabat's claim to W Sahara is contested by the Polisario Front

    "We have decided to consult the political parties, having regard for their fundamental role in major national questions, to see how they view the exercise of autonomy within the kingdom," the king said during a speech on Sunday transmitted over radio and television on the anniversary of Morocco's Green March.
    On this date in 1975, the late Moroccan king Hassan II encouraged 350,000 Moroccans carrying the Quran and the national flag to march to the border with Western Sahara in a show of support for Morocco's annexation of the former Spanish colony.

    Mohammed VI said the talks with Moroccan political parties would work on a proposition on autonomy that Rabat can present to the UN. 

    The dispute
    Morocco's claim to Western Sahara is contested by the Polisario Front, an Algerian-backed independence movement. 
    The UN has sought to settle the dispute over Western Sahara.

    Morocco annexed Western Sahara,
    a former Spanish colony

    But Rabat dismissed the last UN proposal for a five-year period of autonomy followed by a self-determination referendum, the so-called Baker Plan named after US former secretary of state James Baker, who threw in the towel in June 2004, expressing frustration over lack of progress.
    Last month Rabat told the UN it was ready to engage in negotiations with Algeria and the Polisario about autonomy for Western Sahara within the kingdom of Morocco.
    Mohammed VI said Morocco supports a "negotiated political solution which would give our southern provinces an autonomy permitting its residents to manage their own regional affairs within the sovereignty of the kingdom".



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