In Algeria, a member of the self-styled Polisario Government of the Western Sahara issued a challenge to the Moroccan government of King Hassan during a news conference on Monday (12 November).
In Algeria, a member of the self-styled Polisario Government of the Western Sahara issued a challenge to the Moroccan government of King Hassan during a news conference on Monday (12 November). Mr Hakim Ibrahim, the Polisario movement's Foreign Minister, commented on the forthcoming conference called by the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) to discuss a peaceful solution to the four year old conflict between Morocco and the Polisario guerrillas in the Western Sahara.
SYNOPSIS: The Algerian-backed Polisario forces have been fighting for Independence in the Western Sahara since Spain ceded its former territory to Morocco and Mauritania in 1976. During his news conference, Mr Ibrahim referred to the discussion of the issue by the OAU heads of state during their summit conference in Liberia in July. He claimed that King Hassan had agreed during those talks to attend a special committee meeting in Monrovia to discuss the dispute. The Moroccan leader said recently that his government would never agree to give up the Western Sahara. Mr Ibrahim said this was a tacit rejection of the OAU's recommendation for a cease-fire and a referendum on self-determination in the territory.
Mr Ibrahim said that if the Moroccan government ignored the decision of the OAU committee on the Western Sahara, King Hassan could not attend the forthcoming peace talks in Monrovia. Mr Ibrahim stressed it was essential that the Moroccan government clarified its position on the future of the territory. He refused to comment on whether the participation of the Polisario guerrillas in the talks was dependent upon Morocco's response to his demand for clarification. But the leader of the self-styled Polisario government Mohamed Lamine was quoted in Algerian newspapers as saying the guerrillas would send a delegation to Monrovia.