Parties involved in the Western Sahara conflict are reported to be pursuing peace. News of?
Parties involved in the Western Sahara conflict are reported to be pursuing peace. News of this development was brought to Paris on Friday (8 September) by President Felix Houphouet-Boigny of the Ivory Coast who has helped to bring together the main countries involved -- Morocco, Mauritania, France and Algeria.
SYNOPSIS: President Houphouet-Boigny lunched at the elysee Palace in Paris with French President Valery Giscard d'Estaing who had invited him to mediate for peace two months ago. The African leader reported that contacts wee now being vigorously pursued with a view to peace, and negotiations were in progress. the conflict began in 1975 when Spain handed the Western Sahara colony to Morocco and Mauritania. Algerian-backed Polisario guerrillas then started fighting to set up an independent republic. The conflict brought Mauritania to the edge of economic ruin and soured relations between Algeria and France. The prospects for peace have been aided by the establishment of a regime in Mauritania which wants to end the war. And like President Houphouet-Boigny, French presidential aides now express cautious optimism about settlement prospects.