Morocco explains raid to EU

2010-11-19 22:49

Rabat - Morocco has provided the European Parliament with more information on a disputed raid on a squatter camp in Western Sahara, aiming to clarify its role, the foreign minister said on Friday.

Foreign Minister Taeib Fassi Fihri provided clarifications in meetings in Brussels on Thursday with lawmakers and the European parliament's committee on foreign affairs.

"All details have been provided on the development of the incidents in Laayoune," the minister was quoted as saying by MAP news agency, referring to the main city in Western Sahara near where the camp housing 15 000 displaced Sahrawis was located.

"It is...proven that security forces were only equipped with bullet-proof vests and batons, and never used firearms and no civilian deaths were caused by firearms during the dismantling of the camp," he said.

Morocco says that 13 people died in the November 8 raid, including 11 of its security forces, while the pro-independence Polisario Front has said dozens of people died.

The UN Security Council has deplored the raid, calling on the Polisario and Morocco "to demonstrate further political will towards a solution".

Western Sahara was annexed by Morocco after Spanish settlers withdrew in 1975, but the Polisario Front fought the Moroccan presence until the United Nations brokered a ceasefire in 1991.