Spain, Morocco Reach Agreement on Island Dispute

Spain, Morocco Reach Agreement on Island Dispute
US Secretary of State Colin Powell said Saturday that Spain and Morocco have reached an understanding over their dispute on a small island in the Mediterranean.

"The United States welcomes the understanding reached by Morocco and Spain over the island, following consultations by the United States with each side," Powell said in a statement.

The secretary, who had personally involved himself in phone diplomacy over the past few days to mediate between the two Mediterranean countries, said both sides have agreed "to restore the situation regarding the island that existed prior to July 2002."

He said the US believes that the understanding is in the interests of both Spain and Morocco and can serve as the basis for further steps in improving their bilateral relations.

Spanish soldiers prepare withdrawal from Perejil Islet
The Spanish soldiers who removed Moroccan soldiers from the Perejil island, prepare their withdrawal from the place.

The 75 Spanish soldiers pick up their equipment and will be moved to the military heliport of Loma Margarita, the military authorities said on Saturday.

The governments of Spain and Morocco, with the mediation of United States, got Saturday an understanding about the islet, 200 meters off the coast of Morocco, that is under Spanish protectorate.

The military contingent own to Tercio Duque, Alba 2 of the Legion of the city of Ceuta, one of two Spanish city enclaves along Morocco's northern coast.

Last Thursday, July 11, 12 Morocco soldiers landed on the rocky Perejil island and set up two tents and raised two Moroccan flags.The Spanish armed forces ousted the Moroccan detachment from the tiny island early Wednesday.

Both Spain and Morocco claimed sovereignty over the islet, which is only as large as a sports field, since the Spanish protectorate over Morocco ended in 1956.

People's Daily Online ---