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We never invited Mugabe – Morocco

Staff Writer

THE message delivered to President Robert Mugabe by Moroccan Foreign Affairs chief Mohammed Benaissa on Monday was not an invitation for Mugabe to mediate in the Western Sahara dispute but an af

firmation of Morocco’s willingness to promote bilateral relations with Zimbabwe and other East and Central African countries, the authorities in Rabat have said.

Similar messages were delivered to heads of state of Tunisia, Egypt, Ethiopia, Uganda, Tanzania, Zambia, Swaziland, Botswana, Malawi and Lesotho.

The Moroccan newspaper Arabic News on Wednesday quoted a communiqué from the Moroccan ministry of Foreign Affairs stating that the message actually called for the revision of the legal framework that regulates bilateral ties and to expand co-operation with the countries concerned.

The BBC on Tuesday reported that Morocco’s Foreign Ministry had denied reports in the state-owned Herald claiming it had asked Mugabe to mediate in the conflict over the Saharawi Arab Republic.

Government spokesman George Charamba yesterday declined to comment on the message delivered to Mugabe.

The Herald, quoting no one in particular, said Mugabe had been asked to mediate by the visiting Moroccan Foreign minister.

The Polisario Front has been fighting for independence since the territory was annexed by Morocco after Spain withdrew from its former colony in 1975.

United Nations attempts to resolve the dispute collapsed earlier this year after Morocco rejected a peace plan.

Zimbabwe has previously supported the Polisario’s cause.

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