Morocco gives Spain 'commitment' over W.Sahara raid

16th November 2010, Comments 0 comments

Morocco Tuesday promised to comply with any requests from Madrid to investigate last week's deadly raid on a squatter camp in Western Sahara, Spain's interior minister said Tuesday.

Alfredo Perez Rubalcaba addressed a news conference following a meeting with his Moroccan counterpart, Taieb Cherkaoui.

"I asked for and obtained a commitment from the Moroccan government to investigate whatever information, whatever name, whatever concern the Spanish government had in relation to what happened in Laayoune," he said.

The raid on the camp near Laayoune housing thousands of Sahrawis was carried out on November 8, a few hours before a new round of talks between the Polisario, the main Western Sahara rebel group, and the Moroccan government started near New York.

Morocco has said that 12 people died in clashes between protesters and the police, including 10 members of the security forces.

One Spanish citizen was killed, in what Rabat said was a road accident.

But the pro-independence Polisario said dozens of people died and more than 4,500 were wounded in the violence.

Rubalcaba said he told Cherkaoui of the Spanish government's "serious concerns" over the accusations.

The Moroccan minister "made a detailed account of the events in which he rejected these accusations," the Spanish minister said.

Spain last week called for an urgent explanation from Rabat over the raid, including the circumstances of the death of the Spanish victim, but has declined to condemn Morocco without firm evidence.

"When the facts are proven, we will act on that," Foreign Minister Trinidad Jimenez told the Senate on Tuesday.

"The government cannot react to opinions, however respected they may be."

The Spanish League for Human Rights on Tuesday filed a court case against the Moroccan government accusing Rabat of crimes against humanity over the raid and the death of the Spanish national of Western Saharan descent, Baby Hamadi Buyema.

At a separate news conference, Cherkaoui again defended the actions of the security forces.

"There was no genocide, no crimes against humanity, nor any act of horror, just a peaceful intervention" by the security forces, he said.

© 2010 AFP

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