Morocco is putting pressure on the Soviet Union to stop supplying arms to troublesome Polisario Front guerrillas based in Algeria. For the first time since the outbreak of fighting in the western Sahara between Morocco and Polisario fighters, King Hassan II has called attention to the active Soviet role in the conflict.
His move indicates deterioration of realtions between the Soviet Union and Morocco may be in the offing.
The USSR has supplied a wide range of armaments, including ground-to-ground and ground-to-air missiles, to the Polisario Front via Libya and Algeria, Morocco asserts. So far Morocco has maintained good relations with the Soviets.
But now the King is insisting that Morocco and the Soviet Union are at war. That was his response to a press question on whether or not the Soviet supply of sophisticated arms to the Polisario Front paves the way for Soviet intervention in the Maghreb (northwest Africa) region.
"The leaders in the Kremlin know perfectly well that these arms are causing bloodshed to a friendly nation," he said. "Thus we can conclude that although the Soviet Union has not declared war on Morocco, from this point of view one can consider that it has engaged in war against Morocco."
Morocco has reaffirmed its sovereignty over the former Western Sahara on an international basis. It recently broke diplomatic relations with Libya and Cuba , two nations that have recognized the independence of the region.