Moroccan FM calls Algeria to end ordeal of Moroccans detained on its territory
Morocco-Algeria, Politics, 7/10/2002
Moroccan minister of foreign affairs and cooperation, Mohamed Benaissa, on Monday called Algeria to end the ordeal of Moroccan prisoners held on its soil by the Polisario separatist group which is finding shelter in Algeria.
Benaissa told reporters following a meeting of the House of Representatives' foreign affairs and national defense committee "all conventions are making a clear distinction between political and humanitarian issues."
He went on that Morocco is seizing every opportunity at the regional and international levels to bring up the issue of Moroccans detained in Algeria and has endeavored with the International Red Cross, non-governmental organizations and human rights advocacy organizations in Europe and elsewhere to denounce the methods used to keep these Moroccans in captivity.
Benaissa further recalled repeated calls by the UN secretary general, successive chairmen of the security council and international resolutions and recommendations calling for the immediate and unconditional release of the prisoners.
Regarding latest developments in the Sahara issue, a former Spanish colony retrieved by Morocco in 1975 under the Madrid Accords, he said the case is now examined by the Security Council which has assigned an international technical committee to look into options contained in the UN secretary general report and adopt a decision by the end of this month.
In February, UN Secretary general, Kofi Annan, put forward four options to settle the Sahara issue: implement the (initial) settlement plan that provides for holding a referendum in the Sahara, revise the framework agreement (that offers the territory a large autonomy under Moroccan sovereignty), partition the territory (an Algerian-proposed option that was firmly rejected by Morocco) and terminate the MINURSO mission.
Benaissa renewed Morocco's backing to the framework agreement as a negotiations reference, and stressed that several countries are convinced that this option is the most appropriate way to find a fair solution to the artificial conflict.
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