The Polisario Front, which is fighting a guerrilla war for independence of the Western Sahara, has gained firm expressions of support from the South Yemen and the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine.
SV INT Mr. Sahraoui Mohamed Lamine, president of the Saharan Arab Republic speaking in Arabic followed by French translation (2 shots)
SV Nayef Hawatmeh of the FDLP speaking in Arabic followed by French translation
The Polisario Front has vowed to prevent the disappearance of Western Sahara from the map in the division between Morocco and Mauritania. These nations claim they are only recovering territory taken from them in the colonialist era. The Polisario Front is backed by the Algerian government and both demand self-determination and independence for the region. The Polisario has set up the "Saharan Arab Democratic Republic" with a national flag and government. Algeria and the South Yemen are the only Arab governments to recognise the Republic, which, the Moroccans say, exists only on paper. Its guerrillas hold on territory or towns apart from bases in Algeria from which they launch attacks on Moroccan and Mauritanian positions.
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Background: The Polisario Front, which is fighting a guerrilla war for independence of the Western Sahara, has gained firm expressions of support from the South Yemen and the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine. The support was expressed at news conferences during the three-day meeting of hard-line Arab leaders in Algeria which ended on Sunday (5 February).
SYNOPSIS: At the end of the series of meetings at the Hotel Aurassi in Algiers, the self-proclaimed President of the Saharan Arab Republic, Mr. Sahraoui Mohamed Lamine, explained that the Polisario Front is fighting to secure the independent status of the Western Sahara which was now recognised as a state by 12 countries. The area was handed over to Morocco, to the north, and Mauritania, to the south, by Spain in 1975. The Polisario Front has been waging a war with Algerian backing ever since.
The guerrillas have set up small base camps throughout much of the disputed territory which they have declared a republic, and have organised raids against Moroccan and Mauritanian military posts.
The secretary-general of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine, Mr. Nayef Hawatmeh, had talks with Mr. Lamine and other Polisario representatives during the conference. At a news conference later, he explained the FDLP's attitude to the Polisario Front's fight.
Mr. Hawatmeh said relations between the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine and the Saharan people were logical because the Polisario Front are fighting against the division of their country. The alliance between the two groups was a strategic one and it was clear they had common aims. Both were fighting for liberty and independence.
Most Middle Eastern countries have avoided committing themselves on the Saharan dispute, but the FDLP has frequently expressed solidarity with the Polisario Front.