The pro-independence Polisario Front has expressed hopes that US Secretary of State John Kerry's upcoming visit to Morocco will lead to progress in talks on the Western Sahara.
Morocco annexed the territory in 1975, in a move not recognised by the international community, sparking a deadly conflict with the Algeria-backed Polisario, which remains unresolved 22 years after a UN-brokered ceasefire went into effect.
“We hope Mr. Kerry can convince Moroccan regime officials to free dozens of Sahrawi prisoners and reach a breakthrough in the process of negotiations between Morocco and the Polisario Front to resolve the Western Sahara issue,” Algerian news agency APS quoted Polisario leader Mohamed Abdelaziz as saying late Thursday.
“The Sahrawi government recently sent a letter to Mr. Kerry and has provided information on developments in the Western Sahara issue and the injustices done to the people of the occupied territories.”
Abdelaziz, who is also president of the Polisario-declared Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic, said the letter accused Morocco of refusing to comply with international law for the settlement of the issue, and of failing to respect human rights.
Kerry is expected to travel to Morocco and Algeria in the coming days as part of a tour of Europe, the Middle East and North Africa, although the dates of the visits have not yet been announced.