Rabbat insists on claim over W. Sahara

Nov. 7, 2003 at 7:00 AM
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RABBAT, Morocco, Nov. 7 (UPI) -- Moroccan King Mohammed VI reiterated his country's sovereignty claim over the disputed Western Sahara, stressing diplomacy to resolve the issue.

In a speech to the nation marking the 1975 Green March for the liberation of the Western Sahara from Spanish colonialism, Mohammed called for "reactivating aggressive diplomacy to defend our rightful cause."

He also rejected U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan's proposal for resolving the Western Saharan crisis under which the former Spanish colony would have a four-year autonomous rule at the end of which a referendum for self-determination would be held to decide whether to be independent or part of Morocco.

The king accused Annan, without naming him, of seeking to impose a solution on Morocco.

Africa's longest-running conflict is a source of tension between Morocco and Algeria, which backs the separatist Polisario Front seeking independence for the Western Sahara.

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