afrol News, 6 March - Moroccan King Mohammed VI yesterday chaired a cabinet meeting on internal politics in Moroccan-occupied Dakhla as part of a visit to Western Sahara. The King today stated Morocco would not give up an inch of the vast territory. The Sahrawi POLISARIO protested the visit, thought to reaffirm Morocco's sovereignty over the occupied territory.
Mohammed VI yesterday arrived in the Sahrawi town of Dakhla, greeted by a cheering crowd waving his pictures. In the ancient capital Dakhla, the King presided over a cabinet meeting, attended by several Moroccan ministers. The meeting approved several documents including a bill concerning medical care and decrees organising election operations, according to PANA. The King also is to inaugurate a project for the social and economic development of Western Sahara during his round trip.
Today, the King made an appearance in La'ayoune, the northernmost town of Western Sahara, now mostly dominated by subsidised Moroccan immigrants. In La'ayoune, he made public statements on Morocco's intentions with the territory.
King Mohammed told the La'ayoune crowd he opposed the "creation of artificial entities," referring to one of the four UN proposals to the 26-years-old conflict over Western Sahara. UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan had mentioned the possibility of dividing the contested territory between Morocco and the Sahrawis. This option has however been forcefully rejected by all parties to the conflict. The King further said he was working closely with the UN to achieve a durable peace.
Mohammed VI's stay is the second in Western Sahara during the last four months, and is understood as a clear signal that Morocco will not back on its claims. His "solemn refusal" to split the territory is also an answer to the alleged agreement between POLISARIO and its Algerian ally to accept a partition, something Morocco claims is an "expansionist" Algerian plan to create an Algerian-dominated "micro state" with access to the Atlantic. POLISARIO and Algeria deny agreeing to a territorial partition.
POLISARIO has protested the King's visit and in advance called it a "dangerous escalation" of the conflict. Sahrawi President Mohamed Abdelaziz on Monday said the UN Security Council should take action against this "provocative expedition" as it currently was working on a solution to the Western Sahara conflict. Abdelaziz expressed his "concern and indignation" against the "expansionist and colonial policy" of the Moroccan sovereign.
On the UN proposals to the Western Sahara conflict, Abdelaziz this weekend told the Algerian radio the self-determination referendum in Western Sahara remained the Sahrawi people's priority choice.
Moreover, in an interview with the conservative Spanish daily 'ABC', Abdelaziz stressed that his government had positively received the UN report as it admitted for the first time in 11 years the difficulty of reaching any agreement in view of Morocco's position on this issue. He did not comment the possibility of dividing the territory.
Sources: Based on SPS, press reports and afrol archives.