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Security Council supports self-determination plan for Western Sahara

Security Council supports self-determination plan for Western Sahara

The United Nations Security Council today supported a plan that would allow the people of Western Sahara, a former Spanish colony, to determine their own political future, disallowing both Morocco’s rejection of the plan and its proposal to give Western Saharans limited autonomy under its rule.

The Council also extended the mandate of the UN Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO) until 31 October, instead of 28 February 2005, as Secretary-General Kofi Annan had recommended in his report on the situation.

The report contained Morocco’s April 2004 letter rejecting the 2003 plan for peace between itself and the Western Saharan Frente POLISARIO (Popular Front for the Liberation of Saguia el-Hamra and Rio de Oro), but the Council did not mention it.

Saying it had considered Mr. Annan’s report and noting the principles and purposes of the UN Charter, the Security Council unanimously reaffirmed “its support for the Peace Plan for Self-Determination of the People of Western Sahara as an optimum political solution on the basis of agreement between the two parties.”

It also called on the parties and States of the region to cooperate fully with Mr. Annan and his Personal Envoy, James Baker.

The Council last extended the MINURSO mandate in January for three months to give Mr. Baker more time to consult with the parties on the peace plan.