Rabat looks to Algiers in W Sahara row

Morocco's interior minister has said the dispute over the Western Sahara is an issue between his country and Algeria.

    Morocco's takeover of W Sahara sparked 30 years of hostilities

    Interior Minister Mustafa al-Sahel said that Morocco hopes to improve relations with Algeria and create a climate for negotiations.

    "Rabat is committed to reaching a negotiated political settlement and a peaceful end to the Western Sahara conflict, within the framework of a broad self-rule," he said.
     
    He said such a settlement would avert what he called "Balkanisation" of the region.

    Spanish minister

    Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos told Aljazeera on Wednesday that his government was engaged in finding a solution to the West African conflict.

    Moratinos denied that his country's stand on the Western Sahara issue favoured Morocco at the expense of the Polisario, the region's exiled independence movement.
     

    "Spain's position remains the same in principle as we support the UN relevant resolutions, but to implement these resolutions all parties should get involved"

    Miguel Angel Moratinos,

    Spanish foreign minister

    "We are now exerting more effective diplomatic efforts with all parties involved and share the same view with the UN secretary-general for the appointment of a new envoy for the W Sahara. The issue is not siding with Morocco or the Polisario," he said.
     
    "The only change is that Spain has decided to get more engaged and to step up diplomatic efforts in order to reach a settlement to the Western Sahara issue."

    Moratinos said Spain committed to a fair solution to all concerned parties under the auspices of the UN.
     
    Position unchanged

    "We cannot wait 10 or 20 more years without doing anything. Spain's position remains the same in principle as we support the UN relevant resolutions, but to implement these resolutions all parties should get involved," Moratinos said.

    Polisario leader Mohamed Abdelaziz 
    asked the US to step in

    In August, Polisario Front leader Mohamed Abdelaziz called for "urgent intervention" by US President George Bush to resolve the Western Sahara conflict after the historic release of Moroccan prisoners two weeks ago.

    Abdelaziz said in a letter to Bush, dated 18 August, that the "tragedy of the Saharawi people, as well as the people of the region [began with] the Moroccan military invasion of Western Sahara on 31 October 1975".

    The letter was published by the Saharawi news agency SPS and was carried by its Algerian counterpart APS. 

    Western Sahara is a former Spanish colony whose annexation by Morocco triggered the 30-year-old hostilities.

    SOURCE: Aljazeera


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