African Press International (API)

"Daily Online News Channel".

Posted by African Press International on August 31, 2008

The Moroccan government on Thursday expressed its pride at the increasing international support to the plan for the autonomy of the Sahara which Morocco unveiled in April 2007 as “the unique solution” to this 33-year old conflict.

The government took note with “a great pride of the growing international support to the “Moroccan initiative for the autonomy” of the Sahara, Moroccan Prime Minister Abbas El Fassi told the cabinet meeting.

The Moroccan PM believes that the Sahara issue remains his governments “top priority” to end this “man-made conflict”.

On 30 July, King Mohammed VI had reiterated his countrys willingness to maintain “its policy of friendly cooperation” and start “substantial” negotiations in good faith and at all levels” to find a political, broad-based and final settlement” to the Sahara conflict.

In April 2007, Morocco offered an autonomy plan for the Sahara (250, 000 sq. km) to find a solution to the conflict which has pitted it against the Polisario Front separatist movement since late 1975 when the Spanish colonizers withdrew from the territory which have since then been under its full control.

The Algeria-based Polisario Front has been demanding a “self-determination” referendum which Rabat dismissed as “inapplicable” while describing its plan as the only solution out of the deadlock.

After reaching their fourth round of the Manhasset talks (a New York suburb) in March under the aegis of the UN, they were deadlocked over the conflicting positions of the protagonists.

In addition to Morocco and the Polisario Front, the talks on the Sahara which began in June 2007, are witnessed by Algeria and Mauritania as observer countries.

The fifth round should be set in common accord but nothing predicts “an imminent resumption”, according to some analysts.

In April, the UN mediator in charge of the Sahara, Peter Van Walsun, had dismissed as “unrealistic” the independence option claimed by the Polisario Front.



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