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Africa
Polisario threatens return to arms
Group warns of violence against Morocco if talks over Western Sahara independence fail.
Last Modified: 22 Dec 2007 00:09 GMT
The conflict over Western Sahara is Africa's longest-running territorial dispute [AFP]

The Polisario Front, pushing for independence for Western Sahara from Morocco, has threatened a return to violence if negotiations over the disputed region fail, according to an Algerian news report.
 
Representatives of the Polisario also called on Friday for the release of political prisoners held by Morocco, Algeria's APS news agency said.
The Polisario, which wants a UN referendum with a choice of autonomy or independence for the Saharawi people, has been holding meetings in Tifariti, a buffer zone near the Algerian border.
 
Western Sahara is Africa's longest-running territorial dispute.
Fighting began in 1975 when Spain, the former colonial ruler, pulled out.
 
Morocco claims the region, but the Polisario, backed by Algeria, have been fighting for its separation. The fighting ended in 1991 with a UN-negotiated ceasefire.
 
UN-sponsored talks
 
The upcoming UN-brokered negotiations between the Polisario and the Moroccan government, set to begin on January 7,  are to be held in the US.
 
But earlier this year, two rounds of negotiations saw little progress towards resolving the 32-year-old dispute.
 
In a statement, Polisario representatives called the upcoming third round of talks a "precious occasion", saying they hoped Morocco would seize it, APS reported.
 
"Otherwise, the Moroccan government will have to fully accept the consequences which will result from the failure of negotiations - notably the return to military hostilities," the statement said.
 
In its statement, the group also called on the Moroccan government to free Saharawi political prisoners and "shed the light on the fate of more than 500 missing civilians", APS reported.
 
The statement urged Spain to "assume its historic, moral and legal responsibilities" and press for the region's independence.
Source:
Agencies
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