First Published: 2013-04-04

 

France renews support for Morocco’s Western Sahara initiative

 

Hollande says solution to conflict in Western Sahara is more important than ever as result of Islamist revolt raging in northern Mali.

 

Middle East Online

‘Current standoff is detrimental to everyone’

RABAT - A solution to the conflict in Western Sahara, where a UN peacekeeping force has been deployed for two decades, is more important than ever as a result of the Islamist revolt raging in northern Mali, the French president said on Thursday.

"The economic potential is enormous. But I am also aware of the obstacles, and the question of the Western Sahara, which has been waiting to be resolved for more than 30 years," President Francois Hollande told the Moroccan parliament.

"The current standoff is detrimental to everyone, to the separated families, to the refugees, to the tensions between the Maghreb countries. And the crisis in the Sahel makes its more urgent to put an end to this situation," he said.

France has 4,000 troops in northern Mali where it is leading an offensive against Islamist insurgents.

A series of international diplomats have expressed concern about the decades-old power vacuum in parts of the disputed Western Sahara.

During a trip to the territory and its neighbours last month, UN peace envoy Christopher Ross stressed the urgency of a deal between the pro-independence Polisario Front and Morocco.

Hollande renewed French backing on Thursday for former colony Morocco's insistence on its sovereignty over the territory and its refusal to negotiate more autonomy for the native Sahrawi.

 

Dozens dead in fierce clashes south of Aleppo

Davutoglu to step down after failing to escape Erdogan's shadow

Saudi policeman killed in Mecca region

Israel hits Hamas facility in Gaza

Will London elect its first Muslim mayor?

Jubeir: Vision 2030 will take Saudi’s advancement to another level

Yemen foes discuss key issues in Kuwait talks

UN urged to take action over rebel fire on besieged Yemen city

Egypt's Sisi touts economic accomplishments

US aid ship docks with food for Sudan war zones

Israel court recommends returning Palestinian attackers' corpses

Saudi allows Binladin Group tenders after mass layoffs

Long Erdogan-Davutoglu honeymoon coming to an end

Tunisia confident border trade with Libya will resume 'very soon'

Syria army agrees to respect truce in Syria’s Aleppo

Israel strikes Hamas sites in Gaza

Malta likely to become first EU member to open Libya mission

Qaeda threatens to target homes of Yemen security forces

Anti-ISIS coalition pledges additional military commitment

UN warns Eastern Aleppo may soon become besieged

London set to elect its first Muslim Mayor

Fierce fighting rages in Aleppo as diplomacy efforts intensify

Riyadh's $22.5 bn Metro project on track

Egypt court sentences prominent activist to six months in prison

UK to take in more Syria child refugees

France to host Saudi, Qatar, UAE, Turkey FMs for Syria talks

US expects more military resources for anti-ISIS fight

Standoff escalates between Egypt journalists and authorities

Turkey says ready to send ground troops to Syria 'if necessary'

Hamas accuses Fatah of organising military cell in Gaza

Egypt court acquits Mubarak's last PM

Israel to upgrade ties with NATO as Turkey lifts veto

Passengers injured as Etihad flight hits severe turbulence

Israeli tanks fire shots over Gaza border

5th edition of Middle East Homeland Security Summit to be held in Amman in November

Money and revenge push Syrians to jihadist ranks

EU conditionally backs visa-free travel for Turks, overhauls asylum system

Airstrikes resume in Damascus as fighting 'freeze' ends

Relief in Yemen's Mukalla after year of al-Qaeda rule

Saudi oil minister visits Sudan to cement improving ties

Warnings for Assad as Syria talks shift to Berlin

Is Erdogan-Davutoglu tandem coming to an end?

US troops facing growing risks in Iraq, Syria

Fierce clashes rage in Syria’s Aleppo

Yemen warring parties back to peace talks table