Algerian and Moroccan leaders agreed in principle at a summit meeting to reestablish diplomatic ties, reliable Arab sources said. Relations were severed by Morocco seven years ago, after Algeria recognized the republic proclaimed by Polisario guerrillas in the former Spanish Sahara. Morocco claims the territory as its own. The two nations were to explore ways of solving the western Sahara conflict, although Morocco insists on a self-determination referendum in the area.
The agreement to restore ties was seen as a setback for Libyan leader Col. Muammar Qaddafi, who supported the Polisario and tried to keep Morocco and Algeria from the negotiating table. Some observers say a reconciliation could revive the dream of a confederation between Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia.