Former Polisario member deplores Algiers' obstinacy in Sahara issue
Morocco-Algeria, Politics, 10/2/2004
Al Fadili Salek, a former member of the Polisario separatist group, deplored Friday Algiers' "obstinacy" to block the efforts made by Morocco and other parties to settle the Sahara dispute.
Algeria is backing the Polisario separatists in their claims for the secession of the Moroccan Sahara. Algiers hosts the Polisario secessionists and provides them with military, logistic and diplomatic assistance.
"For the thirty past years Morocco has been showing goodwill and has been making initiatives to reach a fair settlement of the Sahara issue," Salek said in a statement to the Moroccan radio (RTM). However, he said, Algerian authorities are endeavouring to materialize their hegemonic aspirations in the Maghreb region, even if it means cutting out a part of Morocco's territory."
"Algerian leaders are trying by all means to scupper the construction of the Arab Maghreb project," he said, referring to the regional grouping UMA (mustering Algeria, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco and Tunisia), launched in 1989. This project has been hampered mainly because of Algeria's involvement in the Sahara conflict and backing to the Polisario.
Salek said Algiers' stubbornness evidences a blindness that prevents Algerian leaders from recognizing Morocco's historic right to preserving its territorial unity.
The former Polisario member accused Algeria and the Polisario of exploiting the plight of populations sequestered in Tindouf camps ( Algeria) for geo-political goals.
Salek said he believes the Sahara question can only be solved part of decentralization and regionalization system as in other countries such as France, Spain, Canada and the United States.
Salek statements came after Morocco criticized Algeria last week, in a memo to the UN secretary general, of hindering the process of settling the Sahara conflict.
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