Egypt seeks to end W Sahara dispute

Egyptian President Husni Mubarak has pledged to speak with Algerian and Moroccan officials in a bid to end their long-running dispute over Western Sahara.

    Morocco and the Polisario exchanged POWs this year

    "Egypt, which has a neutral position on the issue of Western Sahara, will engage in contacts with the two parties," Mubarak's spokesman Majid Abd al-Fattah said on Sunday after the president met visiting Moroccan Foreign Minister Muhammad Bin Isa. 

    On a two-day visit to Egypt, Bin Isa also met his counterpart Ahmad Abu al-Ghait.

    Morocco annexed Western Sahara after Spain pulled out of the large, phosphate-rich desert territory in 1975. The Polisario Front, which is backed by Algeria, took up arms to fight for independence the following year. 

    The movement fought a guerrilla campaign against Morocco until 1991, when a ceasefire was brokered by the United Nations. But Morocco has since rejected a UN plan for a peace deal agreed to by the Polisario.

    SOURCE: AFP


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