The United Nations Security Council approved a resolution by consensus on Sunday (2 November) asking all countries involved in the dispute over the Spanish Sahara not to take any action which would increase tensions in the area.
GV EXTERIOR UN building (MUTE)
MV Delegate for Mauritania, Mr. Moulaye k Hassen speaking in French
SV Moroccan delegate, Mr. Driss Slaoui speaking in French
SV Algerian delegate, Mr. Abdellatif Rahal speaking in French
This film is serviced with French speech. An alternative commentary is provided overleaf.
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Background: The United Nations Security Council approved a resolution by consensus on Sunday (2 November) asking all countries involved in the dispute over the Spanish Sahara not to take any action which would increase tensions in the area.
Spain has announced that it will repel any attempt to cross the border into the phosphaturic desert territory, while Algeria has intimated that it would use armed force to seek its own objectives.
Speaking in French, the Algerian Ambassador, Mr. Abdellatif Rahal said his country wanted to see the Spanish Sahara which is populated by some 74,000 people, mainly nomadic independent after Spanish decolonisation. He warned that the planned march by 350,000 Moroccans, led by King Hassan, to claim their nations's sovereignty in Spanish Sahara was imminent.
Algeria, whose relations with Morocco have been strained for some time, has threatened serious repercussions if the march goes ahead.
Moroccan Ambassador, Mr. Driss Slaoui also speaking in French said his government was prepared to engage in any discussion on a final peaceful settlement. The announcement of Spain's "new attitude" towards the proposed march might prompt the Council to direct itself perhaps exclusively to that country, he said.
"Quite obviously, Morocco rejects all the threats and attempts at provocation, of whatever nature these may be and from whomever they may come," Mr. Slaoui emphasised.
Mauritania's Ambassador, Mr. Moulaye El Hassen also addressing delegates in French said that the situation was most difficult and supported Morocco by saying the march would be peaceful. Mauritania has claimed sovereignty in Spanish Sahara because of the country's immediate vicinity and because of previous links with the people there.
But two weeks ago, the International Court of Justice at the Hague ruled that in spite of these links before Spanish colonisation, neither country could claim sovereignty over it.
UN Secretary General Kurt Waldheim has meanwhile cancelled a trip to Cuba in order to deal with the Spanish Sahara crisis.