(Reuters) – Brahim Ghali, chief of the Polisario Front which needs independence for Western Sahara, is acquiring healthcare treatment method in Spain, angering Morocco which annexed the former Spanish colony a long time in the past.

Listed here are some details about the dispute:

Spain’s Foreign Minister Arancha Gonzalez Laya confirmed on April 23 that Polisario Entrance leader Ghali had arrived in Spain from Algeria “strictly for humanitarian explanations, for clinical remedy”. Spain has not claimed where Ghali is becoming treated or manufactured facts about his ailment community.

Rabat summoned the Spanish ambassador on April 25 to desire an rationalization and convey problem at Ghali’s admittance to a Spanish hospital, introducing in a assertion on Could 8 that it was a “premeditated act” that would have repercussions.

The sizing of Britain, Western Sahara is sparsely populated, with phosphate reserves and rich fishing grounds. It was occupied and dominated by Spain from 1884-1976. Morocco suggests it has legitimate declare to the territory courting back again to the colonial era. When Spain left, Morocco annexed the territory and encouraged hundreds of Moroccans to settle there.

Sahrawi persons shaped the Polisario Entrance to force for independence right before the conclude of Spanish rule, and later waged a guerrilla war from Morocco’s assert to the territory, with the assist of neighbouring Algeria.

The United Nations brokered a ceasefire in 1991, with Morocco controlling about 4-fifths of the territory. The truce provided the promise of a referendum on the territory’s status, but that has not taken position thanks to disagreements around how it ought to be carried out and who would be allowed to vote.

Morocco claims it has generations-old rights about the territory and that considering the fact that annexing it, it has poured big sums of income into improving dwelling circumstances there. It is keen to offer autonomy within Morocco but not independence.

The Polisario established up a government in 1975 in neighbouring Algeria. Its authorities, the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic, is a member of the African Union but is not recognised as a U.N. member condition. It has explained it is prepared to negotiate with Morocco on approaches to maintain a referendum featuring a preference involving independence, integration into Morocco, and self-governance.

Algeria is Polisario’s critical ally, and hosts hundreds of Sahrawi refugees in desert camps.


In December, 2020, U.S. President Donald Trump announced that the United States would recognise Morocco’s assert in excess of Western Sahara and open up a consulate there, as element of a deal less than which Rabat agreed to restore diplomatic relations with Israel. The U.S. final decision was strongly criticised by the Polisario Entrance and Algeria, even though Trump was presented the Buy of Muhammad, Morocco’s highest award, by King Mohammed VI. Some 22 typically African and Arab countries have opened consulates in Western Sahara.

(Compiled by Angus McDowall and Peter Graff Modifying by Giles Elgood)

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