Spanish King calls for solution for West Sahara

14th March 2007, Comments 0 comments

14 March 2007, ALGIERS - King Juan Carlos called for ‘free determination’ for Western Sahara, the subject of a decades-long battle.

14 March 2007

ALGIERS - King Juan Carlos called for ‘free determination’ for Western Sahara, the subject of a decades-long battle.

Speaking at a meeting in Algeria with the country’s president Abdelaziz Bouteflika, the king said there was a urgent need to find a solution for the people of Western Sahara, a former Spanish colony.

The area has been the subject of clashes between Morocco and Saharawi nationalists led by the Polisario Front.

The monarch spoke of the Western Sahara in a toast he gave at a dinner held for him and his wife, Queen Sofia, by the Algerian leader.

Bouteflika, however, made no mention of the controversy over the Western Sahara in his own remarks, even though Algeria supports the Polisario.

Nevertheless, Spanish foreign minister Miguel Angel Moratinos, who is accompanying the royal couple on their state visit, said that "full agreement" exists between Spain and Algeria on the question of Western Sahara, especially when it comes to rejecting any "unilateral proposal or action" to attempt to resolve the dispute.

Moratinos said that Spain had not changed its stance on the matter since at the summit with Morocco on March 5-6 in Rabat Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero said a Moroccan autonomy plan for the region could be the basis for resuming the dialogue.

The foreign minister said that Morocco is within its rights to make a proposal and the Polisario Front can "accept it, negotiate it or reject it".

Back in Madrid, meanwhile, the lower house of Parliament on Tuesday passed two non-binding resolutions urging Zapatero's Socialist government not to support measures that weaken Spain's role as an honest broker in the conflict, but rather to press for the referendum on self-determination sought by the United Nations.

[Copyright EFE with Expatica]

Subject: Spanish news

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