African recognition asked for Western Sahara nation

The Algerian-backed Pilosario guerrilla movement has applied to the Organization of African Unity (OAU) for recognition as the self-proclaimed Western Sahara Republic, a Polisario spokesman told Reuters Tuesday.

The phosphate-rich region is administered by Morocco, which is expected to oppose vigorously the application at the current OAU Council of Ministers meeting here and at next week's OAU summit meeting. Morocco has said it will leave the Organization if the Western Sahara Republic is recognized.

Conference sources said that under the OAU charter the Polisario needs a majority of the 50 members states to be recognized. The Polisario spokesman said 23 members have so far recognized the republic and other states have pledged to support the application.

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