Algeria has been accused of holding numerous families as 'concentration camps'.
GV INTERIOR PAN Delegates seated at conference.
CU Algerian Foreign Minister Mohamed Banyahia speaking in French.
SV & CU Delegates from Libya, Mauritania, Niger, Mali and Chad listen to speech (6 SHOTS)
CU PAN FROM Niger delegates TO Banyahia ending speech.
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Background: Algeria has been accused of holding numerous families as 'concentration camps'. The accusers belong to an organisation of citizens of the former Spanish Sahara, who call themselves The Adsario. They also claim that Algeria has been using guerrilla forces in its conflict with Morocco for control of the territory.
These accusations came while a conference of foreign ministers in Algiers has been discussing the turmoil in the Sahara region.
Algerian Foreign Minister Mohamed Banyahia avoided any specific references to various trouble sports in countries near Algeria. Observers thought he was referring to Chad when he said events must be examined closely, and that those who tried to spread dubious information should be dealt with firmly. He called on all countries in the region to co-operate in the interests of peace.
This foreign ministers' conference came a month after an African summit denounced a scheme to merge Chad and Libya. That summit demanded that Libya remove the troops it has stationed in Chad. In the past two years, the region of West Africa has been wracked by sporadic fighting and border clashes in several different conflicts. This conference, he said, hoped to move towards solving at least some of the problems behind the fighting.
Monsieur Banyahia said that frontiers did not count in the desert, and its various nations should be talking among themselves, seeking solutions to their troubles.
The desire for a dialogue among peoples was contained in this conference, and augured well for success in its efforts. Western diplomatic sources said the Algerians hoped the conference -- with Algeria, Chad, Libya, Mauritania and Niger represented -- would encourage Libya to offer guarantees of her intentions that would calm the fears of other Saharan countries. The allegations about so-called concentration camps by former Spanish Saharan citizens, was not raised at early sessions of the conference. The accusers have asked the United Nations to investigate conditions among Western Saharan families in camps in Algeria.