France: Sahara conflict resolution crucial to improve Morocco-Algeria relations
Morocco-France, Politics, 2/9/2005
Spokesman of the French foreign Ministry, Herve Ladsous, deemed that the resolution of the Sahara conflict is crucial for the improvement of Moroccan-Algerian relations.
Relations between the two neighboring countries are strained because of Algeria's military, logistic and diplomatic backing to the Polisario group that is claiming the separation of Morocco's southern provinces (the Sahara). This territory, formerly occupied by Spain, was retrieved by Morocco in 1975 under Madrid accords.
"We have always encouraged a political, realistic and sustainable solution to this conflict, and urged the concerned parties to engage in dialogue under the aegis of the United Nations," said Ladsous in an interview published Tuesday by the UAE paper "Al Khaleej."
"The European Union is the proof that regional entente allows solving conflicts between countries. Hence, we have encouraged north African countries to boost the Maghreb Arab Union (UMA)," pointed out the spokesman, referring to differences between member states of this regional grouping, which led to hampering its development. The Sahara conflict is one of the main issues hindering the promotion of UMA that musters Algeria, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco and Tunisia.
The French official also raised at the interview the Middle East conflict, deeming that the four-party summit on peace in the Middle East, that opened Tuesday in Sharm al-Sheikh (Egypt), brings "positive indications."
"We strongly encourage parties to continue in the same path and we back them in this dynamic," he said.
The summit is attended by Egyptian president, Husni Mubarak, King Abdallah II of Jordan, President of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, and Israeli Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon
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