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.

 

IS jihadists move closer than ever to central Damascus

UN confirms Palmyra temple destroyed

Turkey police raid anti-Erdogan media group after British reporters jailed

Shebab attack Somalia AU base

Over 10,000 Icelanders ready to welcome Syrians

Turkey government says it 'had no role' in reporters' arrest

IS claims Tripoli car bomb near oil firm

Dispute with Israel government keeps Christian schools shut

Kuwait charges 24 'linked to Iran' with plotting attacks

New Turkey caretaker government holds first meeting

Dozens of Lebanon protesters occupy environment ministry

Will Erdogan's political gamble solve Turkey poll impasse?

Libya loyalist forces battle IS jihadists in Benghazi

South Sudan peace deal in jeopardy

Pressure builds on Europe as refugee crisis exposes splits

Israel confirms jail for Druze ex-MP over visit to Syria

Egypt much delayed elections to start on October 17

Palmyra temple appears ‘largely intact’ after ISIS blast

Turkey to offer cash rewards for tips on ‘terrorists’

Yemen children's hospital on the verge of shutting down

In gruesome video, ISIS shows burning alive of Iraq Shiite fighters

Four years after famine, situation in Somalia remains alarming

A year on, recapture of Yazidi hub remains a distant prospect

EU leaders call for action to defend migrants’ 'dignity'

IS blows up parts of famed Palmyra temple

Deadly fire at housing complex of Aramco in Saudi Arabia

In historic first, Saudi Arabia allows women to run in local elections

Israel repels protesters with tear gas at separation barrier in West Bank

ISIS brutality in Syria: Over 90 people executed in one month

Bashir to visit China despite international arrest warrant

Egypt summons British envoy in row over Al-Jazeera trial

Yemen war seeks to stop ‘Iran expansion’ in Arab region

Lebanon protesters to government: Meet our demands of face escalation

Calls for action on refugee crisis mount after Austrian tragedy

Kuwait lawmaker describes Iran as 'true enemy' of Gulf Arabs

Two French journalists charged with bid to blackmail Morocco King

Algeria detains former intelligence chief

Kurdish forces free seven Iraq villages from clasps of ISIS

Toll in Libya shipwreck tragedy rises to 111

Egypt court hands Al-Jazeera reporters three years in prison

UN to host new round of Libya peace talks next week

US names ‘First Special Presidential Envoy for Hostage Affairs’

Mounting death toll of security forces triggers questions in Turkey

Deadly terrorist blast rocks Karanah suburb in Bahrain

Brief truce between Syria regime and rebels collapses