Algiers – The Polisario Front independence movement on Sunday dismissed as “fabrication” comments by Morocco’s king saying that the disputed Western Sahara territory was not up for debate.
The Algeria-backed Polisario Front seeks independence for Western Sahara, but Morocco, which controls 80% of the former Spanish colony, maintains the territory is a sovereign part of the kingdom.
On Saturday, to mark the 46th anniversary of Rabat’s claim over the territory, King Mohamed VI said in a televised speech that “today, as in the past, Moroccan sovereignty over Western Sahara will never be up for negotiation”.
The Polisario, which set up the self-proclaimed Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR) in 1976, dismissed the king’s speech.
“It a mix of sophism, fabrication and illusion to justify Morocco’s arrogance and intransigence,” the Sahrawi ministry of communication said in a statement.
“The Sahrawi people will not end its struggle as long as Morocco does not end its aggression and its illegal occupation of the Sahrawi Republic.”
The statement added that an independent SADR, living next door to Morocco, “is an irreversible reality which the Moroccan king cannot ignore”.
The Polisario has long demanded a UN-supervised self-determination referendum for the territory, which boasts extensive phosphate reserves and rich offshore fisheries.
Rabat has refused any referendum and has offered only autonomy instead of independence.
In late October, the United Nations Security Council called on all sides to resume negotiations towards a solution.
The last UN-led peace talks in 2019 involved top officials from Morocco, Algeria, Mauritania and the Polisario.
Tensions between Morocco and Algeria flared last week after Algiers accused Rabat of killing three Algerian citizens on a desert highway through a Polisario-held area of Western Sahara in a strike on their trucks.
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