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Polisario Front condemns U.S. backing of Moroccan claim to Western Sahara

FILE PHOTO: The word Polisario is seen on the ground in Tifariti, Western Sahara, September 9, 2016. REUTERS/Zohra Bensemra

ALGIERS (Reuters) -The Polisario Front, a group which has fought for decades for independence for Western Sahara, strongly condemned a U.S. decision on Thursday to recognise Moroccan claims to the desert territory.

The United States said it was recognising Moroccan claims to Western Sahara as part of a deal under which Morocco agreed to normalise its relations with Israel.

“The stance... is a blatant violation of the United Nations charter and the resolutions of international legitimacy,” the Polisario Front said in a statement. The move “obstructs efforts by the international community to find a solution to the conflict”.

The Polisario’s European represenative Oubi Bechraya told Reuters: “This will not change an inch of the reality of the conflict and the right of the people of Western Sahara to self-determination.”

It would also not change “the determination of the Sahrawis under the leadership of the Polisario Front to carry on with their struggle,” Bechraya added.

Algeria, which hosts Polisario fighters and Sahrawi refugee camps, did not immediately comment on the U.S. stance.

Reporting by Hamid Ould Ahmed in Algiers and Angus McDowall in TunisEditing by Mark Heinrich and Peter Graff

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