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Monday, April 22, 2024
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Great Britain on Tuesday called for more debate, within the United Nations, on the Moroccan project to grant substantial autonomy to its Southern Provinces, The Sahara.



   "We urge for more debate, within the United Nations, on the Morocco proposals, which Algeria has already commented," British Foreign and Commonwealth Minister in Charge of the Middle East and North Africa, Kim Howells, said at a press briefing at the Foreign Office.

    Howells said the talks process, held under the aegis of the U.N., should move towards more intensity, voicing hope the international organization would be more dynamic in order to find a solution that means "compromise between the parties concerned."

    In a bid to end the 32-years-old dispute between Morocco and the Algerian-backed separatist movement, Polisario over the Sahara, Morocco and the separatists have held three rounds of talks in Manhasset (NY), in June (18-19), August (10-11) and January (7-9). The fourth round of negotiations is slated for March 11-13.

    The Sahara dispute dates back to 1976, when the latter started laying claims to the former Spanish colony, which was ceded to the north African country a year before.

    It is possible to settle this longstanding conflict, the British official said, calling for and “more transparency on the number of people who live in the region and their real aspirations.”

    Howells stressed the need to take account, while reaching a compromise, of the demographies, which, he insisted, “have greatly changed during the last thirty years,” underling that it is “extremely important” to have a real idea on the situation.

    On bilateral relations, Howells said the two countries have excellent links, describing Morocco as a “very very important country.”

    The British official said he will “very soon” visit the north African kingdom part of the regular exchange of visits between the two states.


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