Arab League reaffirms support to Morocco on Tourah islet case
Regional-Morocco, Politics, 9/6/2002
Secretary general of the Arab League, Amr Moussa, reaffirmed the pan-Arab Organization's support to Morocco's sovereignty over the Tourah (Leila) islet and voiced the League's determination to "preserve the interests of its members and to defend their sovereignty."
In a report submitted to the league's ministerial council convening September 4-5, Moussa hailed the moderation of Morocco's diplomacy in handling the issue.
The Tourah islet (also known as Leila), 150 meters off the Moroccan Mediterranean coasts, was invaded then evacuated by Spain last July, after a deal brokered by the United States.
The Arab League addressed the issue in the frame of its concern to preserve its members' interests and defend their sovereignty and is "following with interest the negotiations on this case and on all other pending issues between Rabat and Madrid," the secretary general said.
Amr Moussa voiced hope that Morocco and Spain would settle these problems in a way guaranteeing rights and preserving the historical relations binding the two countries.
He said that he had personally followed the issue developments through intense contacts with the Moroccan foreign minister and that he had issued a statement asking Spain to withdraw its forces from the islet and to hold immediate negotiations with Morocco.
He said he had insisted on the need to respect Morocco's inalienable rights to exercise its national sovereignty.
Good offices and the wise conduct adopted by Moroccan diplomacy made it possible to contain the crisis, Amr Moussa said, adding that Morocco and Spain have enough assets to settle the contender in a friendly way.
The secretary general lauded the efforts made by the US to settle the issue and make Spain withdraw its forces from the islet.
A Moroccan delegation led by state secretary of foreign affairs and cooperation, Taib Fassi Fihri, is attending the Arab League ministerial meeting.
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