African nations on Thursday (6 December) called on Morocco to withdraw from the Western Sahara and pledged to form an all-African police force to control a cease-fire that they said should take effect immediately.
GV Foreign Minister of Morocco Mohamed Boucetta and officials sitting beneath portrait of King Hassan as newsmen look on
SCU Mr. Boucetta speaking in French
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Background: African nations on Thursday (6 December) called on Morocco to withdraw from the Western Sahara and pledged to form an all-African police force to control a cease-fire that they said should take effect immediately. At the end of the two-day meeting in Monrovia, Liberia, the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) delegates also asked Morocco to give up control over a part of the Western Sahara abandoned by Mauritania earlier this year (1979). Morocco boycotted the talks but Foreign Minister Mohamed Boucetta met newsmen to discuss the issue as the meeting in Monrovia began.
SYNOPSIS: The Moroccan Foreign Minister Monsieur Mohamed Boucetta met newsmen on Tuesday (4 December) in Rabat. The news conference was called on the same day that the Summit to discuss the Western Sahara issue was convening in Monrovia. Morocco did not have an official delegate at the meeting after King Hassan on Monday (3 December) accused President Moussa Traore of Mali -- one of the group known as "Africa's five wise men" -- of having deliberately sided with Morocco's adversaries. President Ahmed Sekou Toure of Guinea also pulled out of the talks saying that without Morocco's participation the meeting could not achieve its objective.
Morocco accepts that there must be mediation and discussion of the war in the Western Sahara. The conflict started four years ago after Spain handed over the phosphate-rich territory to Morocco and Mauritania. When Mauritania pulled out of the war earlier this year (1979) Morocco claimed the entire territory and stepped up its fight against the Polisario Front. Representatives of the Front attended the Monrovia conference and said that Morocco must state more clearly what its intentions are in the area. A Moroccan delegate was removed from Wednesday's meeting in Monrovia and was told he had no business at the talks when his government was officially boycotting them.