Mission of the Western Sahara

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Ban aims to revive Western Sahara independence talks

UN secretary-general Ban Ki Moon has tasked his special envoy to Western Sahara with restarting independence talks with Morocco.

Speaking on Sunday following a visit to the huge Tindouf refugee camp in neighbouring Algeria, Mr Ban said he wanted envoy Christopher Ross to meet representatives of Morocco and the Polisario Front national liberation movement.

He lamented the world’s neglect of Western Sahara and the failure to reach “a politically just, lasting and acceptable solution for all, founded on self-determination for the people of Western Sahara.”

Tindouf is home to tens of thousands of Sahrawis and the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic administration that controls the east of the country.

Mr Ban said that the UN was ready to organise a long-promised independence referendum “if there is an agreement between the parties.”

He said would travel to the Atlantic coastal city of Laayoune, which is the regional capital and the headquarters of UN peacekeeping mission Minurso.

Morocco and Mauritania annexed Western Sahara in 1975 under the Madrid Accords with colonial power Spain, the last act of dictator Francisco Franco a week before his death.

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