The head of a United States Congressional committee on African affairs has told crowds of cheering refugees in Algeria,t he day would come when they could return to their homes in the western Sahara.
The head of a United States Congressional committee on African affairs has told crowds of cheering refugees in Algeria,t he day would come when they could return to their homes in the western Sahara. Congressman Stephen Solarez, the first American politician to visit the Polisario Front refugee camps, told the Saharans he heard and understood them.
SYNOPSIS: As part of his fact finding visit Mr. Solarez also went into the areas of the western Sahara held by the Polisario Front guerrillas. The Algerian backed Polisario's began a bitter war with Morocco and Mauritania when Spain ceded the western Sahara to the two states in 1976. Under a peace agreement earlier this month Mauritania relinquished its claim to part of the territory, but Morocco is holding on.
At a Polisario desert camp Mr Solarez was shown American weapons said to have been captured from the Moroccans.
The United States had supplied the weapons to Morocco on the understanding they wouldn't be used in the western Sahara. Part of Mr Solarez mission is to determine whether that restriction should be lifted following Polisario raids inside Morocco's borders.
Morocco has requested more sophisticated American weapons adapted for desert warfare. Mr. Solarez will present his conclusions in Washington next month.