Morocco protests Polisario meeting in W Sahara

Morocco appealed for the U.N. to intervene to prevent a meeting of Western Sahara's pro-independence Polisario Front in a key buffer zone, arguing it violated a 1991 ceasefire.

Morocco protests Polisario meeting in W Sahara
"This concerns a serious violation and compromises the ceasefire accords concluded in 1991," Morocco's U.N. ambassador Mostafa Sahel said in a letter to Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, arguing the UN was tasked to ensure the zone was "exempt from any military presence or civilian installations."

Based outside Algeria's desolate southwest desert town of Tindouf, the Polisario plans on holding talks in Tifariti, Western Sahara, located near a so- called "defense wall" erected by Rabat in the 1980s to repel rebel attacks.

Morocco's parliament also condemned the Tifariti meeting.

The Moroccan complaints come ahead of a third round of U.N.-mediated talks in January outside New York between Rabat and the Polisario on the future status of Western Sahara, a phosphate-rich, disputed territory in northwest Africa.

Morocco and the Polisario have already held two rounds of U.N.-sponsored exploratory talks, in June and August, but failed to bridge the wide gap between their respective positions.

Morocco has proposed to grant autonomy to the Western Sahara, which it annexed in the 1970's following the withdrawal of colonial power Spain, sparking a war with the Algerian-backed Polisario seeking independence for the territory.

But Rabat has repeatedly pushed back a promised self-determination referendum and since 2002 has insisted such a vote is not necessary.

The Polisario is still holding out for a referendum.

Agencies

Güncelleme Tarihi: 14 Aralık 2007, 10:07
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