Morocco hails UN’s W. Sahara report as ‘fair, balanced’

Rabat accuses Polisario Front of transferring military equipment from Algeria to areas east of buffer zone
RABAT: Moroccan Prime Minister Saad Eddine al-Othmani on Thursday described a recent UN report on the dispute over the Western Sahara region as “fair and balanced”.
The report, issued late last month, “responds to the claims of the separatists and those who oppose Morocco’s… territorial integrity”, al-Othmani said at a cabinet meeting.
However, he went on to stress Morocco’s “categorical rejection” of what he described as “attempts by the Polisario Front to impose a fait accompli in the buffer zone”.
Morocco recently accused the Polisario of transferring military equipment from Algeria to areas east of the buffer zone, which separates Morocco from territory held by the Polisario.
Earlier this week, the UN Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO) said it had not observed any military activity or movement in the region by the Polisario.
Al-Othmani, however, reacted to the assertion by saying his country had “evidence confirming Polisario activity in the buffer zone”.
Since the early 1970s, the Polisario Front, a self-proclaimed national liberation movement backed by Algeria, has demanded an independent state in Western Sahara.
Rabat says the region is an integral part of Morocco. It has, however, proposed a system by which Western Sahara might enjoy a degree of autonomy while remaining under Moroccan sovereignty.
The Polisario Front, for its part, wants to hold a popular referendum in Western Sahara to decide the region’s political fate.–AA

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