Last Updated: Wednesday, 24 December 2014, 12:47 GMT

Ban voices concern as tensions grow between Western Sahara parties

Publisher UN News Service
Publication Date 24 November 2009
Cite as UN News Service, Ban voices concern as tensions grow between Western Sahara parties, 24 November 2009, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4b138d991e.html [accessed 25 December 2014]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is concerned by the growing tension between the parties to the Western Sahara negotiations, which have increased following the recent detention of several groups of Saharawi activists.

"The Secretary-General has urged both parties to continue to cooperate with his Personal Envoy, Mr. Christopher Ross, in seeking to schedule another set of talks and to work together to achieve progress toward a mutually agreed political solution," UN spokesperson Michele Montas told reporters in New York.

Mr. Ross has been leading talks between Morocco and the Frente Polisario to resolve the dispute, which began when fighting broke out between them after Spain's colonial administration of Western Sahara ended in 1976.

The UN Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara, known as MINURSO, is tasked with monitoring the ceasefire reached in September 1991 and organizing a referendum on self-determination in the territory.

Morocco has presented a plan for autonomy, while the Frente Polisario's position is that the territory's final status should be decided in a referendum on self-determination that includes independence as an option.

The most recent talks, held in Austria in August, concluded with a commitment from both parties to continue negotiations as soon as possible.

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