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 You are in: Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs > Bureau of Public Affairs > Bureau of Public Affairs: Press Relations Office > Press Releases (Other) > 2003 > February
Press Statement
Richard Boucher, Spokesman
Washington, DC
February 14, 2003


Western Sahara: Polisario Release of Moroccan POWs

The United States welcomes the February 10th release by the Polisario Front of 100 Moroccan prisoners of war. We want to extend our appreciation to the Government of Spain for its intervention on behalf of the prisoners. As we have said before, the Polisario has an obligation under international humanitarian law to release, without conditions, all remaining Moroccan prisoners captured during the Western Sahara conflict. We call on the Polisario to release the remaining 1160 Moroccan prisoners without delay, all of which have been held for more than a decade after the cessation of hostilities in Western Sahara, and in most instances for more than 20 years.

The United States calls on the parties to the Western Sahara dispute to release or account for all those missing or held prisoner since the start of the conflict and to implement confidence building measures, as called for by United Nations Security Council Resolution 1429 and previous resolutions. The United States urges the parties to continue their work to resolve all the issues remaining from this conflict, and to engage seriously with the representatives of the UN Secretary General to achieve a mutually acceptable solution to this long-standing problem.

 

Released on February 14, 2003

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