U.S. Congressman Calls Morocco Key Counterterrorism 'Ally;' Warns that a Polisario-led 'Fake Microstate' in Western Sahara Would Create Instability, Export Terrorism

Dec 09, 2010, 11:59 ET from Moroccan American Center for Policy

Rep. Lincoln Diaz-Balart denounces recent "cynical attempts at purposeful disinformation" about Western Sahara on House floor

WASHINGTON, Dec. 9, 2010 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- On Tuesday, Rep. Lincoln Diaz-Balart (R-FL) called Morocco "our [U.S.] ally in North Africa in the struggle against international terrorism" during a speech before the U.S. House of Representatives. Diaz-Balart, who chairs the House's Morocco Caucus, reiterated the clear, longstanding U.S. support for a compromise solution based on autonomy under Moroccan sovereignty in the Western Sahara and warned against certain "Castro-style repression" in a Polisario-led "fake microstate."

"The future of America's struggle against international terrorism and the stability of Northern Africa require that the Government and the Congress of the United States continue to stand firmly and clearly with our friend and ally, the Kingdom of Morocco," Rep. Diaz-Balart declared before the U.S. House.

"The reality of Moroccan sovereignty over the Sahara enjoys the support of the entire population of Morocco, including the Sahara itself," Rep. Diaz-Balart reminded his colleagues. "For over a decade, Mr. Speaker, Morocco has agreed to grant a genuine and profound autonomy to the Sahara under Moroccan sovereignty in order to reach a realistic and definitive solution to this problem, but Algeria and the so-called Polisario continue to insist on the creation of a fake microstate. HM King Mohammed VI and his negotiating team have demonstrated great courage and patience in dealing with this critical issue so closely tied to the security of the entire region. Majorities in this Congress comprising both Republicans and Democrats have spoken clearly in support of our ally Morocco's position on this critical issue in letters we have sent, first to President Bush, and then to President Obama. The United States, during both administrations and with the strong leadership of Secretary of State Rice and Secretary of State Clinton, has agreed with the position expressed by the overwhelming majority of this Congress."

"Then, as now, the so-called Polisario group is financed by Algeria and is propped up by Castro's Communist dictatorship in Cuba." Diaz-Balart continued, "Let us never forget that such a microstate would serve as a focal point of regional instability and destabilization, as well as an exporter of terrorism."

For the full video of Rep. Diaz-Balart's statement, visit: http://www.c-spanvideo.org/videoLibrary/clip.php?appid=599253872.

Rep. Diaz-Balart also joined many in the international community by denouncing inaccurate, inflammatory media coverage of recent events in Laayoune (Western Sahara), in southern Morocco as "biased" and "cynical attempts at purposeful disinformation."  Today, in letters appearing in The Hill, Robert M. Holley, Executive Director of the Moroccan American Center for Policy, and the American Council for Moroccan POWs also strongly criticized grossly distorted allegations run earlier by the publication.

"[D]istortions [which appeared in the publication] dishonor the lives of the 11 Moroccan police officers savagely killed by violent, pro-Polisario militants who infiltrated what began as a peaceful social protest over economic issues near Laayoune," wrote Mr. Holley in The Hill. "These police officers were armed only with non-lethal weapons […] [these distorted] allegations have been repeatedly denounced by the international human rights community."

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SOURCE Moroccan American Center for Policy