SHARECOMMENTMORE

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.

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