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Polisario Front insists Morocco must recognize Western Sahara's independence


The Saharawi liberation movement says it is time Morocco accepted Western Sahara’s independence.

The Polisario Front said on Tuesday that since Morocco has rejoined the African Union and accepted the group’s principles, it must recognize Western Sahara or it could face possible sanctions or requests to leave the regional organization.

AP news reported that Ahmed Boukhari, Polisario Front’s UN representative said that the independence movement will be watching what Morocco does between now and the next AU summit in July .

“If they are going to play games, it’s not against the Western Sahara Republic, it’s against the African Union and they have a right to ask Morocco : Are you a member of our family or not ?” he said. Adding, “if not, there is a possibility of sanctions or even requests to Morocco to get out again.”

Meanwhile Morocco says it does not plan to recognize the independence of Western Sahara. The ambassador of Morocco to Russia, Abdelkader Lecheheb, said on Monday.

“We will defend our selves from inside the African Union, but this does not mean that we recognize Polisario.”

A sentiment shared by Morocco’s deputy foreign minister, Nasser Bourita, who said earlier in February that the Kingdom would “never recognize” Western Sahara’s independence.

Morocco annexed Western Sahara , a former Spanish colony in 1975 and fought the Polisario Front. It considers the mineral-rich territory as its “southern provinces” and has proposed wide-ranging autonomy.

The UN brokered a cease-fire in 1991 and established a peace keeping mission to monitor and help prepare a referendum on the the territory’s future which has never taken place.

Polisario Front insists on self-determination through a referendum for the local population which is estimated at between 350,000 and 500,000.

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