MIDDLE EAST

UN prepares proposal on Western Sahara talks

Four rounds of UN-sponsored talks held between Morocco and the Algerian-backed Polisario Front have failed to make progress since 2007. (File photo: Reuters)

The United Nations is preparing a formal proposal to jumpstart talks on settling the decades-old conflict over Western Sahara, a spokesman said Monday.

UN envoy Christopher Ross is ready to travel to the region to discuss the proposal on “re-invigorating the Western Sahara negotiating process,” said spokesman Farhan Haq.

“A formal proposal is being made to the parties and neighbouring states,’ he added.

Four rounds of UN-sponsored talks held between Morocco and the Algerian-backed Polisario Front, which is campaigning for a referendum on self-rule, have failed to make progress since 2007.

The UN Security Council nevertheless said in a resolution adopted in April that the parties must prepare for a fifth round.

No date has been announced for Ross’s trip, which follows months of strained relations between the United Nations and Morocco following Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s visit to the region.

After Ban described the status of Western Sahara as an “occupation”, Morocco reacted angrily and expelled dozens of staff from the UN mission in the territory, known as MINURSO.

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Last Update: Tuesday, 2 August 2016 KSA 11:16 - GMT 08:16
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UN prepares proposal on Western Sahara talks
Four rounds of UN-sponsored talks held between Morocco and the Algerian-backed Polisario Front have failed to make progress since 2007
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