US officials: War games with Morocco canceled

Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. officials say Morocco has canceled a major annual military exercise with the United States over the Obama administration's support for expanding the powers of a U.N. mission in the disputed Western Sahara.

The officials said Tuesday that Morocco canceled Exercise African Lion — involving 1,400 Marines and 900 Moroccan troops, as well as observers from France and Germany — as it was about to start. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because there has not yet been a formal announcement of the cancellation.

They said Morocco made the decision to protest the Obama administration's support for adding human rights monitors to the U.N. mission in Western Sahara, a former Spanish colony that Morocco annexed in 1976, sparking a fight for independence.