US voices concern over hunger-striking Sahara activist

WASHINGTON - Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has raised US concern over a hunger-striking Western Sahara independence activist with Moroccan Foreign Minister Taieb Fassi-Fihri, a US spokesman said Friday.
Aminatou Haidar has consumed only sugared water since November 16, three days after Moroccan authorities denied her entry at Laayoune airport in Western Sahara, took her passport and sent her back to Spain's Canary Islands.

Aminatou Haidar
Aminatou Haidar
The 42-year-old mother of two was returning to her home town of Laayoune after having received a human rights award in the United States.
Clinton spoke to the Moroccan foreign minister about Haidar's case on Thursday, State Department spokesman Ian Kelly told reporters.
The chief US diplomat "did note our concern about the state of health for Ms. Haidar and expressed our concern that he try and resolve her situation as quickly as possible," Kelly said.
Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos may raise the issue when he meets with Clinton on Monday in Washington.
But Kelly said he did not "know if we're necessarily going to play a mediating effort in this."
Spain's Deputy Prime Minister Maria Teresa de la Vega said Madrid has not ruled out sending Haidar, who has already turned down a Spanish offer of citizenship or political asylum, back to Moroccan territory.
Morocco says it will not allow Haidar to return, saying she had rejected her Moroccan nationality and passport, an account she has denied.

Saturday, December 12th 2009

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