Moratinos convinced 'Sahara conflict blocks Maghreban Union'
Morocco-Spain, Politics, 7/28/2004
Spanish Foreign Minister, Miguel Angel Moratinos, voiced conviction that the three-decade long "Sahara conflict blocks the Maghreb Union."
Launched in 1989, the Maghreb project, known as UMA (Algeria, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco and Tunisia), is facing obstacles because of strains between two of its largest countries, Morocco and Algeria. This latter is backing the Polisario separatist group that is claiming the secession of Morocco's Southern provinces known as the Sahara.
"We should be aware that the major problem blocking the process of the Maghreb Union is the conflict over the Sahara," wrote Moratinos in an article published Tuesday in the newspaper "ABC."
"We should also admit that (É) we cannot impose any solution that would give place to winners and losers," pointed out the Spanish chief diplomat.
This is why, he said, the Spanish government has "decided to move from a stance of passive neutrality to active diplomacy to stimulate dialogue between all parties."
This dialogue should end up in a "fair and final solution" to this conflict, he insisted, expressing his country's resolve to consolidate relations with Maghreb countries "away from the games of circumstantial alliances."
"We would like to promote with these neighboring countries a strong and mutually beneficial relation that is capable of facing the challenges we confronting at the international level: terrorism, control of migration flows and the construction of a space of prosperity," he wrote.
The Spanish minister recalled in this connection the intense diplomatic activities of his country in the Maghreb since socialists came into power last March.
In this article titled "a hundred days of foreign policy," Moratinos also highlighted the foreign policy of the Government of Prime Minister JosŽ Luis Rodriguez Zapatero.
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