Spanish politicians barred again from Sahara

7th June 2005, Comments 0 comments

8 June 2005, MADRID — For the second time a group of Spanish politicians has been barred from visiting troubled Western Sahara as observers.

8 June 2005

MADRID — For the second time a group of Spanish politicians has been barred from visiting troubled Western Sahara as observers.

Four Spanish deputies were stopped from leaving their plane when it arrived at the city of El Ayoun, after a crackdown in the area sparked concern for the inhabitants who oppose Rabat.

On Sunday, Moroccan authorities prevented a group of Spanish politicians, journalists and members of non-governmental organisations from leaving their plane.

Spanish foreign minister Miguel Moratinos passed on his concern to his Moroccan counterpart the public concern this incident created.

A foreign ministry statement added that Moratinos had expressed satisfaction with a Moroccan promise to accept a visit in the coming days by a Spanish parliamentary delegation.

El Ayoun was in recent days been the scene of a crackdown by Moroccan forces following a series of demonstrations, prompting the Algerian-backed Polisario Front, which seeks independence for the Western Sahara, to ask the African Union to intervene.

Both Madrid and Rabat said they wished to "push for a solution" for the Western Sahara, a former Spanish colony to which Rabat lays claim.

Sahrawi sources said protests in late May in the huge desert region, which Morocco annexed after Spain pulled out in 1975, sparked a security force crackdown that left 50 injured and dozens arrested.

The Moroccan district administrator of El Ayoun denied there had been a crackdown but said 32 people had been arrested for "acts of vandalism".

Moratinos disclosed that last week he wrote to UN secretary general Kofi Annan requesting that Annan appoint a personal representative to Western Sahara.

[Copyright EFE with Expatica]

Subject: Spanish news

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