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Moroccan Publisher Fined for False Report on Peace Talks


A Moroccan court has fined a newspaper editor for publishing false information about Morocco's recent peace talks with Western Sahara separatists.

The court in Rabat ordered Mustapha Alaoui Thursday to pay a fine of $2,400 for printing the satirical story in his weekly newspaper, Al Ousboue Assahafi.

The piece published July 6 falsely attributed remarks to United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon that were derogatory toward Moroccan diplomats involved in the talks on Western Sahara.

Alaoui has said his article was not intended to ridicule anyone or undermine Morocco's claim to Western Sahara.

Morocco and Polisario Front separatists held two rounds of U.N.-sponsored talks this year on resolving a 32-year territorial dispute. No breakthroughs were achieved, but negotiators agreed to meet again at an unspecified date.

Morocco has offered Western Sahara autonomy under Moroccan sovereignty. But the Polisario separatists want a referendum on independence.

Morocco annexed the former Spanish colony in 1975 after Spanish colonialists withdrew.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.

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