Four Euro MPs Denied Morocco Entry in W. Sahara Row in Moroccoإقرأ هذا الخبر بالعربية
Four European Parliament members were denied entry into Morocco Wednesday by police who suspected them of supporting the independence claims of Western Sahara, their party grouping said.
The lawmakers "disembarked from a plane in Casablanca and were promptly met by local police who refused them entry to the country," said a statement released by European Parliament liberals after Agence France Presse inquiries with bosses at the Brussels legislature prompted by information from sources in Rabat.
Slovenian MEP Ivo Vajgl and his colleagues were on "a fact-finding mission to study the current political situation in the region," their party grouping said, stressing that authorities in Rabat had been informed of their trip in advance.
Vajgl said the MEPs were focused on "the human rights situation in Western Sahara" but that the Moroccan authorities "decided at the very last moment to impede" them.
"Members of the European Parliament do not pose a threat to the Moroccan authorities," said party grouping leader and ex-Belgian premier Guy Verhofstadt.
Western Sahara is a former Spanish colony in Moroccan control since 1975. Separatists have for decades sought an independence referendum, a proposal backed by neighboring Algeria.