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Western Sahara: UN envoy opens three-day meeting in Wyoming

Western Sahara: UN envoy opens three-day meeting in Wyoming

A senior envoy of United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan today began a three-day meeting in Wyoming, United States, on the disputed Territory of Western Sahara.

The meeting, which is being hosted by Mr. Annan's Personal Envoy for Western Sahara, James Baker III, brings together representatives of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Saguia el-Hamra and Rio de Oro (POLISARIO Front) and the Governments of Algeria and Mauritania.

"We do not expect to have any more on this meeting until its completion," said UN spokesperson Marie Okabe, briefing reporters in New York.

The United Nations has been seeking a settlement in Western Sahara since Spain withdrew its administration of the Territory in 1976. After agreement was reached between the Government of Morocco and the POLISARIO Front, the UN Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO) was deployed in September 1991 to monitor the ceasefire and to conduct a referendum that would allow the people of Western Sahara to decide between independence or integration with Morocco.

On 29 June 2001, the Security Council adopted a resolution extending MINURSO's mandate through November and backing a proposal by the Secretary-General to invite the parties to meet directly or through proximity talks under the auspices of his Personal Envoy to discuss a proposed draft Framework Agreement on the Status of Western Sahara.